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Bard College Hosts Italian Film Festival from September 7 to December 7

Jennifer Wai-Lan Huang
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Italian Studies Program at Bard College presents the 2010 Italian Film Festival beginning September 7 through December 7 in the Preston Theater at Bard College. All films begin at 6:30 p.m. Screenings are free and open to the public. Films will be shown with English subtitles.

Italian Film Festival
September 7 to December 7
Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York
All films begin at 6:30 p.m. in Preston Theater

Tuesday, September 7Cinema Paradiso (Tornatore, 1988)

Tuesday, September 14My Mother’s Smile (Bellocchio, 2005)

Monday, September 20Facing Windows (Ozpetek, 2004)

Tuesday, September 28The Best of Youth—1 (Giordana, 2003)

Tuesday, October 5The Best of Youth—2 (Giordana, 2003)

Tuesday, October 19Mid-August Lunch (Di Gregorio, 2008)

Tuesday, October 26Il Divo (Sorrentino, 2008)

Tuesday, November 2The Lark Farm (Taviani, 2007)

Tuesday, November 9Flying Lessons (Archibugi, 2007)

Tuesday, November 16Lessons of Chocolate (Cupellini, 2007)

Tuesday, November 23Lamerica (Amelio, 1994)

Tuesday, November 30Black & White (Comencini, 2008)

Tuesday, December 7The Wind Blows Round (Diritti, 2005)

Cinema Paradiso (1988)
Nuovo cinema Paradiso
Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Giuseppe Tornatore’s Oscar-winning film follows Salvatore, a Sicilian boy who is mesmerized by the movies shown at the local theater. He befriends projectionist Alfredo, who mentors him and ultimately tells him to leave home to pursue his dreams. Now a famous film director, Salvatore returns home for the first time 30 years later for Alfredo’s funeral and is overcome with warm memories of his childhood even as the town has changed.

My Mother’s Smile (2005)
L’ora di religione: ll sorriso di mia madre
Director: Marco Bellocchio
Painter Ernesto—a strident atheist—finds his patience tried and his philosophy tested when his opportunistic family attempts to coerce him into false testimony to ensure his murdered mother’s sainthood. Complicating matters is the fact that his son has begun to adopt spiritual beliefs. Director Marco Bellocchio delivers an incisive look at religious desolation in this provocative film.

Facing Windows (2004)
La Finestra di Fronte
Director: Ferzan Ozpetek
Feeling overwhelmed and stuck in a dull marriage, Giovanna begins refocusing her attention (or repressing her emotions) by caring for the Jewish Holocaust survivor her husband brings home one day. As Giovanna reflects on her life, she turns to the man who lives across from her and whose window faces hers.

The Best of Youth (2003)
La Meglio Gioventu
Director: Marco Tullio Giordana
This sprawling drama that originally aired as a miniseries on Italian television sweeps from the 1960s to 2003, tracking the journey of two brothers, Nicola and Matteo, who strain their family bond by taking two totally different paths. After traveling, Nicola becomes a successful psychiatrist, while Matteo becomes a policeman intent on catching criminals. But they also wind up at odds politically.

Mid-August Lunch (2008)
Pranzo di Ferragosto
Director: Gianni Di Gregorio
As the Italian holiday of Pranzo di Ferragosto approaches, cash-strapped Gianni gets help from his landlord, his friend, and his doctor, who offer financial relief in exchange for Gianni looking after their elderly relatives over the holiday. Four mismatched Italian mamas at the same table make for an awkward, hilarious, and touching mid-August lunch in this film festival favorite from Di Gregorio, who also writes and directs.

Il Divo (2008)
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Paolo Sorrentino directs this superbly entertaining docudrama about the colorful life and political career of Italy’s Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti and his party’s decades-long throttlehold on Italian politics. Highlighting accusations of Mafia ties, Sorrentino pulls no punches as he lays any number of corruption scandals and even political assassinations at the politician’s feet, all with a sly sense of humor. Toni Servillo stars as Andreotti.

The Lark Farm (2007)
La masseria delle allodole
Director: Paolo Taviani
Directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani present a vividly crafted and harrowing narrative centered on the Armenian genocide of 1915¬17, in which more than a million innocents perished as a result of ethnic cleansing. Starring Paz Vega and Moritz Bleibtreu, the film relates the shocking facts of an episode in history that remains a source of bitter controversy and ill feelings between Armenians and Turks.

Flying Lessons (2007)
Lezioni di volo
Director: Francesca Archibugi
A pair of teenage classmates known as “Chicken” and “Curry” for the fact that they are virtually inseparable attempt to cover for the fact that they both failed their high school finals by claiming that “Curry” is in the midst of an identity crisis that can only be solved by returning to his homeland of India with his Jewish best friend.

Lessons of Chocolate (2007)

Director: Claudio Cupellini
Building contractor Mattia is about to close his biggest deal when his illegally hired worker Kamal is injured and threatens to sue unless Mattia takes his place in an advanced course for pastry makers. Mattia has no choice but to pretend to be him, discovering a way to bring his and Kamal’s disparate cultures together. Among laughs and misunderstandings the comedy explores the difficult process of integration for contemporary immigrants.

Lamerica (1994)
Director: Gianni Amelio
A couple of Italian con men travel to economically ravaged Albania after the collapse of communism there, hoping to cash in by setting up a bogus corporation with a senile old man as its CEO. But the plot fails when the elderly chairman wanders away from the orphanage where he’d been stashed, leading one of the cons on an eye-opening quest through the slums of Albania.

Black and White (2008)
Bianco e nero
Director: Cristina Comencini
Cristina Comencini’s follow-up to her Oscar-nominated foreign language film Don’t Tell is an interracial love story about an Italian computer programmer who falls for a Senegalese embassy worker, much to the dismay of their spouses. When their illicit affair is revealed, their mutual passion—and their racial differences—wreak havoc on both of their lives.

The Wind Blows Round (2005)
Il Vento fa il suo giro
Director: Giorgio Diritti
Compelled to relocate after their home in the Pyrenees became host to a nuclear power plant, a French cheese maker, his wife, and their three children move to a remote village in Northern Italy in director Giorgio Diritti’s culture clash comedy drama. The film explores the resistance of the villagers in accepting the new arrivals.

Nearly every area of instruction at Bard—including the sciences—recognizes in its course offerings the central importance of the Italian contribution to civilization. Italian culture is unique in the extent to which it affects other European and non-European cultures: the Venetians in overseas trade and the Byzantine Empire; Savoy with France; Trieste, Venice, and Milan with the Austro-Hungarian Empire; Sicily with Normandy, Greece, Spain, and the Islamic world. Contemporary aspects of German and Eastern European history—fascism and the Balkans are obvious examples—cannot be considered in isolation from Italian history.

The Italian Studies Program provides the mechanism for assembling and focusing the curriculum of the undergraduate who has an interest in Italian culture. At the core of the program lies acquisition of fluency in reading, writing, and translating the Italian language. This is accomplished through regular courses during the academic year or through an intensive Italian language class, which includes a month of study in Florence, Italy, during the January intersession.

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This event was last updated on 11-15-2010