Moviemov 2012: Italian cinema now
Michele Logarta (The Philippine Star) - December 2, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - For Italian senator Goffredo Bettini, cinema has always been first in his life.

“I only came to politics by way of the cinema,” Bettini said. At 14, Bettini would attend film forums organized by the Communist Party of Italy. He remembers watching great classics of Russian cinema as well as Italian film classics.

A successful politician for more than 30 years, he has held various key positions in the Communist Youth Federation, the Italian Communist Party and the Democratic Party of the Left. He was elected senator in 2006 but left his post to work for the Democratic Party. Although preoccupied with his political career, he has always made room for the movies, even directing a film in 1975. Recently, he went on a hiatus in 2009 to devote himself to culture and writing.

Bettini is the founder of the International Festival of Rome and the man behind Moviemov, Italy’s traveling film festival.

“Politics absorbed me completely, however, in my heart, cinema was always my first passion and I started combining it with politics. What I would like to achieve through film festivals and by promoting cinema is first, personal satisfaction and second is to educate others.”

Bettini was recently in Manila to launch the 2nd Moviemov Italian Cinema Now, which will be held on Dec. 5-9 at the Greenbelt Cinema. 

According to Bettini, there is a need to promote Italian cinema among Asian audiences because of its unique characteristics. “In general, Italian cinema had a first phase right after the war – it was neorealism. It was very important because it served this socio cultural function and showed the real Italy that was hidden under the fascists. The second aspect of Italian cinema that is important is the way we do comedy. Yes, it makes people laugh but it makes people think as well. We also have masters of Italian cinema that have taught the world with their special brand of filmmaking...masters such as Visconti, Fellini, Pasollini, Rossellini, De Sica.”

With seven Italian movies, all 2012 releases, the 2nd Moviemov will give audiences in the Philippines a good look at Italian cinema.

Bettini says, “This year, our program is very ambitious. We have brought high quality Italian films that show difficult times present in our country. The films are truly enjoyable but relevant in terms of the political and social.”

The cream of the crop is Cesare deve morire (Caesar Must Die), the winner of the Golden Bear at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in 2012 and Italy’s official entry to the Best Foreign Language category of the 2013 Academy Awards. In this film, inmates at a high-security prison in Rome prepare for a public performance of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.”

The screening of Caesar Must Die in Manila is the Southeast Asian premiere of the film, according to Bettini. “It’s not just a movie but a social experiment. Shot in a jail in Rome, the film features a cast of actors who are all real convicts. The actor who plays the lead role of Brutus is an ex-convict.”

 

The 2nd Moviemov will screen L’intervallo (The Interval) by Leonardo di Constanzo, Posti in piedi in paradiso (A flat for three) by Carlo Verdone, Magnifica presenza (Magnificent presence) by Ferzan Ozpetek, L’industriale (The Entrepreneur) by Guilio Montaldo, Diaz (Diaz – Don’t clean up this blood) by Daniele Vicari, and Romanzo di una strage (Piazza Fontana, The Italian Conspiracy) by Marco Tullio Giordana.

The Sergio Leone Retrospective will feature films such as The Colossus of Rhodes, A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West, A Fistful of Dynamite, and the newly restored version of Once Upon a Time in America.

“Sergio Leone,” Bettini says, “is remembered for spaghetti westerns but in reality is one of the best artists of cinema in the world. It’s not a coincidence that Martin Scorsese has looked to Sergio Leone for inspiration.”

Moviemov will also feature five Filipino films, including the newly restored Genghis Khan (1950) by Manuel Conde, which was “lost” in the 1950s and was restored in digital, high definition format through a collaborative effort of the FDCP, National Film Archive of the Philippines, Venice Film Festival and L’Immagine Ritrovata.

Other Filipino films to be feted in Moviemov this year are Dekada ’70 by Chito Roño, The Mistress by Olivia Lamasan, Qiyamah by Gutierrez Mangansakan, and the winner of the FDCP’s National Film Festival in Davao City.

For this year’s Moviemov, the youth is a special focus. Students from Makati public schools will be watching the films.  “Cinema is the greatest art,” Bettini says. “Unfortunately, nowadays, youth are educated by TV. Tastes have been changing. It’s very important to have cinema brought to the youth, because it defines taste and educates conscience and will inform them in a deeper way.”

For the Dec. 4 invitational opening, Bettini will be present with Italian movie celebrities in tow. Salvatore Striano, star of Caesar must die, Alessio Gallo of L’Intervallo, Andrea Bosca of Magnifica Presenza, and German actress Jennifer Ulrich, star of Diaz, will walk the red carpet.

The 2nd Edition of Moviemov in Manila is also a competition of contemporary Italian movies with the winner to be chosen by the audience. There will also be workshops and roundtable discussions among Italian and Filipino filmmakers.

 

For details, contact Isis Bautista at 892-4531 loc. 143 or stage.manila@esteri.it.

BETTINI CAESAR MUST DIE CINEMA DIAZ FILM ITALIAN MOVIEMOV ONCE UPON
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