Posts tagged with “italy”

Posted 3 weeks ago

Human Capital, by Paolo Virzì (2014)


"Everything is going so well. You bet on the downfall of this country and you won."

Forget The Great Beauty, forget I Am Love: Paolo Virzì’s Human Capital is the most perceptive and imaginative parable of contemporary Italy’s skewed aspirations and obsession with the lives (and the money) of others.

While the story is interesting enough, the characters are well-sketched, and the acting is very good - particularly from my favourite Italian actor, Fabrizio Gifuni (The Best of Youth) in a dislikable role as the wealthy hedge fund owner and pater familias - Human Capital is very much a director’s film.

I must admit I am surprised: I have always liked Virzì’s quirky comedies but didn’t expect him to find this new depth and an impressive ambition in his work. His visual style has none of Sorrentino’s baroque flourish, nor Guadagnino’s austerity and coolness - it’s simpler, warmer, quite sentimental. There are at least four scenes I found completely preposterous - one in each chapter. And yet the whole film hangs together remarkably well. Virzì displays an understanding of human relations (particularly those of younger people) that is completely missing in many of his Italian peers’ work.

The script uses Stephen Amidon’s novel set in Connecticut and repurposes its critique of WASP bourgeoisie towards a more encompassing study of Italian social climbing. There are also echoes of Buñuel, AmoresPerros, Flaubert channeled via Franzen, even some nods to Wes Anderson. And of course the story could be well be another riff on the themes of money, class and car crashes composed by the greatest of them all, The Great Gatsby

The result is a film that has at the same time a fiercely contemporary face and a timeless inner moral spine, an Italian story that can be relocated anywhere in the world where there are haves and have-nots. Some parable indeed.

Human Capital was announced this morning as Italy’s submission to the Oscar Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language category. It is released in the UK on Friday 26 September - you can see it at Curzon Cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema.

Posted 1 year ago


{ snow and the city - bologna, february 2012 }

More beauty from my hometown in the snow.

PS. Photo number 5 - on the right: the primary school in which my grandmother was a teacher for over 30 years.

Posted 1 year ago


Let it snow

Up there, on the right: my hometown.

Posted 1 year ago

Frankfurt-am-Main (2012), expired Polaroid film

Photographs by Umberto Pettazzoni -  check out Umberto’s exhibition of dry colour prints/pinhole photographs kicking off tomorrow at Circolo Arci Belleville Genova, Italy.

Here’s the stuff in Italian:

15BLUEs - Polaroid di Umberto Pettazzoni (a cura di Elisa Brivio). 15 blues perché sono 15 e il blu è la tonalità delle polaroid scadute. Non sono immagini, o meglio, non solo. Sono prima di tutto oggetti che restituiscono occasioni, ambienti, sensazioni. Oggetti, e come tali vengono restituiti: inscatolati. Hanno un peso, un volume, una consistenza che è propria della materia. Hanno l’immediatezza del digitale, e al contempo l’irripetibilità antica del dagherrotipo, unicum positivo e negativo al tempo stesso. Tangibile, fragile. E poi sono sguardi che s’appoggiano sulle cose, visioni evanescenti, malinconiche, non tristi: blues, appunto. E ancora, sono pensieri buttati giù direttamente in bella. Prove di nulla. Estemporanee fini a se stesse, appunti visivi che si muovono fra Milano e Francoforte, passando per altri luoghi, non precisati, perché il diario appartiene al viaggio, ma anche al quotidiano. Il risultato è uno scrapbook capace di raccontare, con discrezione, l’intimità di tempi e luoghi inanimati.

Posted 1 year ago

La Duce Vita - an interactive documentary by Cyril Berard & Samuel Picas

Check out this interactive documentary about Predappio, a village in Emilia Romagna infamous for being Mussolini’s hometown and his final resting place.

The town has become a site of pilgrimage for people who revel in the cult of Il Duce - dressing up in uniforms, organising parades and commemorative religious services, visiting his grave - and its entire economy rests on organised propaganda tourism and Fascist merchandise.

In the documentary you can hear the left-wing mayor and the local residents talk about the contradictions and incoherences that the town crystallises: a fascinating microcosm of contemporary Italy and the tensions that beset its preposterous ideologies and historical nostalgia. Equally informative, revealing, and disturbing, a terrific piece of work. 

You can stream the documentary in a linear way form the website linked above, and click your way through a series of hyperlinked pathways that expand on the themes and issues raised in the main narrative. Available with French and English subtitles.

[POST EDITED 22/11/2012 to include English subs link.]

Posted 2 years ago

36°C in Bologna - Italy vs Germany - BT is here for the night: the heat is well and truly ON.

Posted 2 years ago

Hello Bologna, you’re beautiful in the summertime.

Posted 2 years ago

Last night around 7000 people gathered in the main square of Bologna, Italy for a free screening of the newly restored print of Once Upon a Time in America. The complete version of Sergio Leone’s masterpiece clocks in at 4 hours and 20 minutes. 

The screening was part of Il cinema ritrovato, the city’s annual festival of early and classic cinema recovered and restored to its original glory.

(photos via

Posted 2 years ago


Tessera del partigiano Italo Calvino (“Santiago”)

Reblogging myself because today is the Italian Day of Liberation, the national holiday that celebrates the end of WWII after the Allied troops defeated the Nazi-fascist occupiers. Most importantly, we remember the feats of our Resistance fighters (Partigiani), the first modern Italians, the ones who saved our collective asses.

Here is Italo Calvino’s ID as a volunteer Resistance soldier. His chosen Partisan code name was Santiago because he was born in Cuba.

W la Resistenza.

Posted 2 years ago

Bologna, Italy (by Giona e la balena)

Just got to Bologna for Christmas. There’s a dog here, a Christmas tree, and even a mini-foosball table. Hooray for home!


Bologna, Italy (by Giona e la balena)

Just got to Bologna for Christmas. There’s a dog here, a Christmas tree, and even a mini-foosball table. Hooray for home!