February 8 – February 22

MARCELLO MASTROIANNI: 20TH-CENTURY MAN

Across a five-decade career, Marcello Mastroianni (1924-1996) maintained a position as one of European cinema’s most bankable stars. But his carefully cultivated public persona – the Latin Lover living ‘la dolce vita’, conducting affairs with co-stars like Faye Dunaway and Catherine Deneuve, enjoying the trappings of movie stardom while maintaining a stance of casual dismissiveness towards his profession (his response to receiving the Legion d’honneur: “I am a charlatan. A buffoon.”) – masked the discipline and dedication that sustained him as one of the greatest actors in the history of cinema. Equally at home in the carnivalesque surrounds of Fellini and Ferreri as the austerity of Antonioni and Angelopoulos, he provided depth and gravitas to innumerable light comedies and romances, added an impish whimsy to heartbreaking tragedies and built a gallery of characters as rich, diverse and subtly delineated as any in cinema. But perhaps his most indelible contribution was the creation of his stock character, referred to by his biographer Jacqueline Reich as the inetto. Neither hero nor anti-hero – Mastroianni referred to himself as a “non-hero” – this selection of impotent lovers, cuckolded husbands, frustrated artists, bumbling criminals and rejected romantics introduced a new kind of leading man: passive, detached, bemusedly ironic, the perfect vehicle to express the unstable political, social and sexual climate of post-war Italy.

This season of carefully selected features charts the development of Mastroianni’s career from the formative Big Deal on Madonna Street and White Nights to his seminal performances in Divorce Italian Style and 8 ½ and Oscar-nominated role in A Special Day.

Presented in partnership with:

luce-cinecitta
Luce Cinecitta

italian-institute-of-culture
The Italian Institute of Culture

February 8

7:00pm – WHITE NIGHTS
Luchino Visconti (1957) 97 mins
Unclassified 15+ (unless accompanied by an adult)

Visconti’s neo-realist influences are combined with a dreamlike visual poetry in this poignant tale of longing and unrequited love. Wandering aimlessly in the city of Livorno, Mario (Mastroianni) meets Natalia (Maria Schell) and the two become enmeshed in each other’s loneliness. Adapted from a short story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, this fascinating transitional work in Visconti’s career features a groundbreaking performance by Mastroianni that is pre-emptive of his soulful, world-weary and highly influential roles for Fellini and Antonioni in the following decades.

With Jean Marais. Music by Nino Rota.

35mm print courtesy of Cinecittà Luce.

CTEQ Annotation:
Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland – Luchino Visconti and White Nights by David Melville.

Trailer:


8:50pm – 8 ½
Federico Fellini (1963) 138 mins M

Lauded by Roger Ebert as “the best film ever made about filmmaking,” and spawning countless imitators from Woody Allen to Bob Fosse, this playful, deceptively autobiographical Oscar-winning reverie on the mysteries of the artistic process is one of the landmark works of European art cinema. Three years after their worldwide success with La dolce vita, Fellini and Mastroianni once again teamed up to explore the porous boundaries between life, art and dreamlike imagination in this exhilarating circus-like comedy memorably scored by Nino Rota.

Also starring Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée and Barbara Steele.

Courtesy of The British Film Institute.

CTEQ Annotation:
“A Fantastic, Enchanted Ballet”: Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ (1963) by Wheeler Winston Dixon.

Trailer:

February 15

7:00pm – DIVORCE ITALIAN STYLE
Pietro Germi (1961) 105 mins
Unclassified 15+ (unless accompanied by an adult)

The New York Times hailed Germi as a master of farce for this tale of an elegant Sicilian nobleman (Mastroianni) who dreams of entangling his wife in an affair so he might kill her in a supposed crime of passion. A huge worldwide success, and a great showcase for Mastroianni’s comic abilities, the film, based on a novel by Giovanni Arpino, won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

Co-starring Stefania Sandrelli as the teenage cousin and object of Mastroianni’s desire, this is a shamelessly beguiling satire of patriarchal Italian society and law and is the defining work of Commedia all’italiana.

35mm print courtesy of Cinecittà Luce.

CTEQ Annotation:
Laughing at Him and With Him: Marcello Mastroianni in Divorce Italian Style (Divorzio all’italiana, 1961) by Joe Di Mattia

Trailer:


8:55pm – BIG DEAL ON MADONNA STREET
Mario Monicelli (1958) 106 mins
Unclassified with no age restriction

This loving spoof of the caper film boasts a veritable who’s who of classic Italian cinema including Vittorio Gassman, Renato Salvatori, Totò and, in one of his most fondly remembered break-out roles, Mastroianni, playing a gang of small-time crooks scheming to hold-up a state-run pawn shop. Monicelli uses the conventions of the heist film and the various traditions of Italian cinema including neo-realism to maximum effect in this highly influential and internationally successful work that Jonathan Rosenbaum dubbed “one of the funniest Italian comedies ever made.”

With Claudia Cardinale.

35mm print courtesy of Cinecittà Luce.

CTEQ Annotation:
Big Deal on Madonna Street (I soliti ignoti, Mario Monicelli, 1958) by Darragh O’Donoghue

Trailer:

February 22

7:00pm – A SPECIAL DAY
Ettore Scola (1977) 106 mins M

Scola’s sepia-toned masterwork remains one of the few Italian films to truly reckon with pre-World War II fascist Italy. Set entirely in the labyrinthine apartment complex Palazzo Federici, screen icons Sophia Loren and Mastroianni play against type as tangential outsiders hanging out while the rest of Rome gathers to witness the reception of Hitler by Mussolini.

Utilising virtuoso camerawork by Pasqualino De Santis, and a constant soundtrack of blaring radio commentary, Scola creates profound insights through his dextrous use of the limitations of time frame, casting and setting.

35mm print courtesy of Cinecittà Luce.

CTEQ Annotation:
Two Ordinary People; One Special Day by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster.

Trailer:


8:55pm – ALLONSANFÀN
Paulo and Vittorio Taviani (1974) 115 mins M

Initially beginning their filmmaking careers operating in a scrupulously realist, docu-drama mode, the Tavianis took a turn towards the semi-Brechtian with this acerbic, classically ’70s anti-spectacle, starring a game Mastroianni. A visually expressive, sardonic and hallucinatory historical drama about the death of revolutionary ideals, this is the Tavianis’ “kiss-off to individual idealism, embodied by Mastroianni’s self-involvement – a ‘great actor,’ who sees political engagement as ultimately a matter of uniforms, a concept literalised in the finale for withering irony” (Fernando F. Croce).

With Lea Massari.

35mm print courtesy of Cinecittà Luce.

February 5
OPENING NIGHT

February 12 – February 26
VITTORIO DE SICA: CINEMA, ITALIAN STYLE

March 4 – March 18
LIGHT AND SHADOW: THE MERCURIAL STARDOM OF MARLENE DIETRICH

March 23 – April 6
CAST A DARK SHADOW: THE BEAUTIFUL SADNESS OF DIRK BOGARDE

April 13 – April 29
THE BIG CARNIVAL: THE FILMS OF BILLY WILDER

May 6 – May 20
“LIFE’S PARADE AT YOUR FINGERTIPS”: DOUGLAS SIRK

May 27 – June 10
WILDFLOWERS: DANCING, DESIRE AND FREEDOM IN THE FILMS OF GILLIAN ARMSTRONG

June 17 – July 1
DRIFTING STATES: THE FILMS OF APICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL

July 8
AT HOME IN THE WORLD: CECIL HOLMES, ACTIVIST FILMMAKER

July 15 – July 29
HIROSHI SHIMIZU: FORGOTTEN MASTER

September 2 – September 16
JEAN COCTEAU: THE POETRY OF DREAMS

September 23 – September 30
QUEERING THE ARCHIVE: THE CINEMA OF BARBARA HAMMER

October 7 – October 14
GALLOWS BACCHANALIAS, FRACTIOUS FAIRY-TALES AND THE RULE OF THREE: THE CINEMA OF JURAJ JAKUBISKO

October 21 – November 4
REACHING BEYOND THE FRAME: THE POETIC CINEMA OF ABBAS KIAROSTAMI

November 11 – November 25
BORSCHT, SAUERKRAUT, GOULASH AND LEMONADE: AN INTRODUCTION TO OSTERNS AND RED WESTERNS

December 2 – December 16
THE LAND IS OURS: YOUSSEF CHAHINE