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Daniele Luchetti's autobiographical reckoning Those Happy Years (Anni Felici) about a boyhood in the Italy of the 1970s, starring Kim Rossi Stuart, Micaela Ramazzotti, Martina Gedeck, Pia Engleberth, Samuel Garofalo and Niccolò Calvagna, opened this year's Open Roads: New Italian Cinema at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The afternoon of the luncheon at Barbetta, hosted by the Italian Cultural Institute of New York, I spoke with Luchetti about artistic upbringing then and now, the three faces of autobiographical filmmaking, how all movies need an evil, and his two upcoming projects on Pope Francis and a comedy on Berlusconi, who could be played by Tilda Swinton.
In Those Happy Years, Kim Rossi Stuart plays Guido, an artist who feels undervalued and misunderstood. He makes plaster pieces with naked women, lectures at
James Franco is finishing a joke. "Natalie Wood…get it? What kind of wood doesn't float?" Everyone is very hung over this morning, but fortunately Franco sent his Maybach Landaulet and driver to whisk us to Chlamydia, the new Bobby Flay café in Chelsea, where we are drinking revivifying Bellinis and an assortment of other smart cocktails with Vito Schnabel, Slavoj Žižek, Natalie Portman (or possibly Keira Knightley, or Keira Knightley's body double), Sasha Grey, Heath Ledger, Michael Lee Nirenberg, Lena Dunham, Chloë Sevigny, and a Thai/Puerto Rican pre-op transsexual Franco introduces as "Pinball."
We are all sweating slightly and staring at Billy Cyborg passed out in a bowl of muesli. Inexplicably, the table is cluttered with untouched Chinese take-out containers and bottles of Evian, and there
Steve Dollar, earlier this year in the Wall Street Journal: "She gave us hemophiliac splatter and star-crossed Texas-biker vampire love in Near Dark — 20 years before bloodsuckers became the pop-culture vogue and star Bill Paxton was a household name. She came up with the most iconic use of a Richard Nixon mask in movie history in Point Break. And she was the first woman to win the Academy Award for best director in 2010, with the high-tension Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker." And he reminded us, too, that she made her earliest films as a "San Francisco Art Institute graduate enrolled in the graduate film program at Columbia University, where she studied with such luminaries as Susan Sontag and avant-garde video artist Vito Acconci."
At around the same time, Justin Stewart wrote in
Let's begin this quick run through goings on in New York and with J Hoberman in the Voice: "Dennis Hopper changed the game with Easy Rider (1969), blew up his career with The Last Movie (1971), and then, through a never clearly explained series of events, took over and reconfigured a Canadian tax-shelter project for which he had been hired to act, thus contriving a dialectical comeback with his brutal, accomplished Out of the Blue (1980)."
"Widely banned and/or shoved under the rug at the time of its limited release primarily due to its violently bonkers ending, the film's alternately herky-jerky and languid cadence is suggestive of a terminally wounded body undergoing a death rattle." Joseph Jon Lanthier in Slant: "This produces a look and feel that communicates the blind rage and ennui out of which punk's jabby power chords and raucous lyrics sprang. But the film's punk apotheosis — the
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