Westchester Italian FIlm Festival

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1:00pm La Strada

Acclaimed Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini drew on his own circus background for the 1954 classic La Strada. Set in a seedy travelling carnival, this symbolism-laden drama revolves around brutish strongman Zampano (Anthony Quinn), his simple and servile girlfriend Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina, Fellini‘s wife), and clown/aerialist Matto (Richard Basehart). Appalled at Zampano’s insensitive treatment of Gelsomina, the gentle-natured Matto invites her to run off with him; but Gelsomina, like a faithful pet, refuses to leave the strong man’s side. Eventually Zampano’s volcanic temper erupts once too often, leading to tragic consequences. Written by Fellini and Tullio Pinelli and scored by Nino Rota, La Strada was the winner of the first official Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film, awarded in 1956.

3:00pm Nights of Cabiria

Nights of Cabiria opens with Cabiria (Giulietta Masina) and her boyfriend playfully embracing by the seaside — and then he shoves her into the water and steals her purse. Cabiria is revived by some local boys and runs off by herself, shouting. What follows is a series of similarly humiliating episodes, in which the defiantly positive prostitute Cabiria is hurt, but never broken. She gets picked up by movie star Alberto Lazzati (Amedeo Nazzari, doing a self-parody) and taken to his palatial estate. However, his mistress shows up and Cabiria gets locked in the bathroom all night with the dog. She then joins her fellow prostitutes for a blessing from the Virgin Mary, and ends up getting drunk and wandering into a local show, where the hypnotist invites her to join him on-stage. The audience heckles her, and she toughly reminds them of her independence and that she owns her own house. There she meets Oscar (François Perier), an accountant who romantically pursues her. Despite the warnings of her fellow prostitute friend, Wanda (Franca Marzi), she prepares to sell all her belongings and accept Oscar’s proposal of marriage. After being ruthlessly taken advantage of once again, Cabiria walks off alone with a smirk of hope.

5:30pm 8 1/2

Fresh off of the international success of La Dolce Vita, master director Federico Fellini moved into the realm of self-reflexive autobiography with what is widely believed to be his finest and most personal work. Marcello Mastroianni delivers a brilliant performance as Fellini’s alter ego Guido Anselmi, a film director overwhelmed by the large-scale production he has undertaken. He finds himself harangued by producers, his wife, and his mistress while he struggles to find the inspiration to finish his film. The stress plunges Guido into an interior world where fantasy and memory impinge on reality. Fellini jumbles narrative logic by freely cutting from flashbacks to dream sequences to the present until it becomes impossible to pry them apart, creating both a psychological portrait of Guido’s interior world and the surrealistic, circus-like exterior world that came to be known as “Felliniesque.” 8 1/2 won an Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film, as well as the grand prize at the Moscow Film Festival, and was one of the most influential and commercially successful European art movies of the 1960s, inspiring such later films as Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz (1979), Woody Allen‘s Stardust Memories (1980), and even Lucio Fulci‘s Italian splatter film Un Gatto nel Cervello (1990).

8:00pm La Dolce Vita

In one of the most widely seen and acclaimed European movies of the 1960s, Federico Fellini featured Marcello Mastrioanni as gossip columnist Marcello Rubini. Having left his dreary provincial existence behind, Marcello wanders through an ultra-modern, ultra-sophisticated, ultra-decadent Rome. He yearns to write seriously, but his inconsequential newspaper pieces bring in more money, and he’s too lazy to argue with this setup. He attaches himself to a bored socialite (Anouk Aimée), whose search for thrills brings them in contact with a bisexual prostitute. The next day, Marcello juggles a personal tragedy (the attempted suicide of his mistress (Yvonne Furneaux)) with the demands of his profession (an interview with none-too-deep film star Anita Ekberg). Throughout his adventures, Marcello’s dreams, fantasies, and nightmares are mirrored by the hedonism around him. With a shrug, he concludes that, while his lifestyle is shallow and ultimately pointless, there’s nothing he can do to change it and so he might as well enjoy it. Fellini‘s hallucinatory, circus-like depictions of modern life first earned the adjective “Felliniesque” in this celebrated movie, which also traded on the idea of Rome as a hotbed of sex and decadence. A huge worldwide success, La Dolce Vita won several awards, including a New York Film Critics CIrcle award for Best Foreign Film and the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

The Act of Killing

The filmmakers examine a country where death squad leaders are celebrated as heroes, challenging them to reenact their real-life mass-killings in the style of the American movies they love. The hallucinatory result is a cinematic fever dream, an unsettling journey deep into the imaginations of mass-murderers and the shockingly banal regime of corruption and impunity they inhabit.

 

Members can get FREE POPCORN at our 8pm Sunday evening film series.

 

 

 

La Camioneta: The Journey of One American School Bus

The Screening Room Every day dozens of decommissioned school buses leave the United States on a southward migration that carries them to Guatemala, where they are repaired, repainted, and resurrected as the brightly colored camionetas that bring the vast majority of Guatemalans to work each day. LA CAMIONETA follows one such bus on its transformative journey: a journey between North and South, between life and death, and through an unfolding collection of moments, people, and places that serve to quietly remind us of the interconnected worlds in which we live. Members get FREE POPCORN at our NEW 8pm Sunday Cinema evening film series.

The Attack

An Israeli-Palestinian physician vows to track down the religious zealots who recruited his beloved wife and turned her into a suicide bomber in this topical drama from director Ziad Doueiri. Dr. Amin Jaafari (Ali Suliman) is a respected Palestinian surgeon who lives in Tel Aviv. When a terrorist bombing strikes a nearby hospital, Dr. Jaafari races to save those injured in the blast. His comfortable world is turned upside down later that night, however, when police summon him to identify the body of the bomber: his wife Sihem (Reymond Amsellem). Sihem’s guilt is confirmed when her husband receives a posthumous letter from her claiming full responsibility for the atrocity, and he finds himself unable to return to his comfortable life in Tel Aviv, instead focusing his energy on finding the people who brought his wife into the dark world of extremism. Later, in the course of Dr. Jaafari’s tense investigation, he is forced to face some difficult questions regarding his own identity and the complex decisions he’s had to make while living in a region dominated by religious strife.

Fill The Void

A family crisis puts a young woman in a difficult position in this drama from Israeli filmmaker Rama Burshtein. Esther (Renana Raz) is the daughter of an Orthodox Rabbi who follows her father’s faith, and she and her husband Yochay (Yiftach Klein) are happy to soon be welcoming their first child into the world. Joy turns to sorrow when Esther dies in childbirth; Yochay is devastated, and despite their own heartache, her mother Rivka (Irit Sheleg) and younger sister Shira (Hadas Yaron) step forward to help the widower look after his newborn son. Esther’s father Rabbi Aharon (Chaim Sharir) counsels Yochay that it would be best for him and his young son if he remarried as soon as he feels capable, but finding a fit mother is no simple task. Rivka comes up with what she feels is a perfect solution — an arranged marriage between Yochay and Shira, who has already grown fond of the baby. Yochay isn’t sure he’s comfortable with wedding his sister-in-law, and Shira feels no better about it, preferring to save herself for a virgin like herself, but the demands of her family may weigh more strongly than her own desires. Lemale et ha’chalal (aka Fill the Void) received its American premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

Much Ado About Nothing

Writer/director Joss Whedon (Serenity, Marvel’s The Avengers) gives William Shakespeare‘s beloved battle-of-the-sexes comedy a contemporary makeover in this feature adaptation starring Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof. In the wake of an eventful trip abroad, Claudio (Fran Kranz) and Benedick (Denisof) arrive safely back in their hometown of Messina, where Claudio wastes no time declaring his love for Hero (Jillian Morgese). Alas, when clever Benedick learns that his friend has poured his heart out to the daughter of powerful governor Leonato (Clark Gregg), he chides his old friend relentlessly over the syrupy assertion while engaging Leonato’s outspoken niece Beatrice (Acker) in a series of spirited debates. Meanwhile, somewhere amidst all of the pointed insults and playful barbs, something that strangely resembles true love seems to blossom between Benedick and Beatrice. Nathan Fillion, Reed Diamond, and Sean Maher co-star.

 

 

Special Event screening of 42 with Ralph Branca and Bobby Valentine

THE PICTURE HOUSE TO SHOW REPRISE JACKIE ROBINSON BIOPIC ‘42’ FOLLOWED BY EXCLUSIVE DISCUSSION WITH DODGERS’ TEAMMATE AND ROBINSON FRIEND, RALPH BRANCA AND HIS SON-IN-LAW, FORMER PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER AND MANAGER BOBBY VALENTINE

Due to an overwhelming demand, The Picture House announced today that is will show an encore screening of ‘42’ on Sunday, July 14, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. and will once again welcome Ralph Branca, the three-time All Star pitcher, teammate on the Brooklyn Dodgers and friend of Jackie Robinson.  In addition, Mr. Branca will be joined on-stage by his son-in-law, former professional baseball player and manager, Bobby Valentine.

This local baseball extravaganza comes two days prior to the Midsummer Classic in the Big Apple.

Born in Mount Vernon, NY, Ralph Branca is a former starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. From 1944 through 1956, Branca played for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1944–53, 1956), Detroit Tigers (1953–54), and New York Yankees (1954). When Robinson made his debut in 1947 Branca stood next to him when players on the opposing team refused to take the field.  He is the only surviving member of that team.

Bobby Valentine is a native of Stamford, Connecticut where he complemented his high school baseball achievements by becoming the only three-time All-State football player in Connecticut history. After being selected in the first round by the L.A. Dodgers, Valentine went on to have successful stints with the Angels, Padres, Mets, and Mariners. When he retired as a player, Valentine was the third base coach for the New York Mets before being named the Manager of the Texas Rangers in 1985. As the Rangers manager he was named UPI American League Manager of the Year in 1986. In 1994 Valentine became the first American to accept a manager position in the Pacific League of Japan for the Chiba Lotte Marines.

In 1996, Valentine was hired as the manager of the New York Mets, where he led the team to the post season in consecutive years for the first time in team history and to the World Series in 2000. In 2004 Bobby began his second stint as manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines, leading them to their first Pacific League pennant in 31 years and a four game sweep of the Japan Series for the 2005 Championship. In 2008, Valentine was the subject of the ESPN Films documentary “The Zen of Bobby V.”, an official selection at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. Bobby is an analyst for ESPN’s Baseball Tonight and Sunday Night Baseball and is the Athletic Director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT.

Baseball historian Marty Appel will again be the evening’s moderator.  Appel was the Yankees’ public relations director and a television producer over a span of 20 years and is the author of 18 books including ‘Pinstripe Empire: The New York Yankees from Before the Babe to After the Boss.’ He was regularly in touch with Jackie Robinson over ‘Old Timers Day’ appearances, and interviewed him in 1967 while a college sports editor. Appel was a long time Westchester resident and now operates Marty Appel Public Relations in New York City.

Tickets are $35 for non-members; $20 for members; and $10 for seniors, students and children.  For more information or to purchase tickets to the special event go to www.thepicturehouse.org or visit the box office at 175 Wolfs Lane, Pelham, NY. To become a member of The Picture House or to make a donation please visit www.thepicturehouse.org or email membership@thepicturehouse.org or call (914) 738-3161.