During the month of July Filmatique will host Opera Prima Italiana, a collection of first films from directors working in the vanguard of Italian cinema.
Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis' Il Solengorevolves around a man who has disappeared from society and the inconsistent myths formed in his absence. In N-Capace documentary filmmaker Eleonora Danco turns the camera on herself and the provincial seaside town of her youth, investigating the notions of identity, origins, performance and culture. Opera Prima Italiana's two narrative works depict female adolescence in contemporary Italy— Lamberto Sanfelice's highly-acclaimed Clorotells the story of Jenny, a 17-year old girl who dreams of becoming a synchronized swimmer, while Carlo Lavagna's stylish debut Arianna delves into a warm, hazy summer at Lake Bolsena, where a 19-year old girl reckons with memories of her transition from male to female.
Split equally between documentary and works of fiction, Filmatique's Opera Prima Italiana Series presents bold, diverse visions of contemporary Italy— a culture that pioneered some of the world's most formidable artistic movements and continues to evolve through its cinema.
Il Solengo, Alessio Rigo de Righi & Matteo Zoppis (2015)
Il Solengoby Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis / 2015
Outside of Rome, a group of elders gathers in a hunting lodge and recalls the life of Mario de Marcella, a man who lived in a cave for more than 60 years. Why he chose to live a solitary existence is unknown, though the men seem fond of conjecture. Those who saw him while hunting referred to him as "il Solengo"— the male boar who lives away from the pack. Some say he was crazy, others say he wasn't. They all agree, however, that he never spoke to anyone.
Il Solengonot only captures a spartan way of life rarely depicted in mainstreamItalian cinema— it is a mysterious, timeless meditation on the aesthetics of absence and an investigation into the form of narrative itself. This first feature from Italian documentary filmmakers Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis premiered at Rotterdam, Göteborg, São Paulo, Vienna, and both Turin and Doclisboa, where it won Best Film.
Jenny is a 17-year old girl living in the seaside town of Ostia, with a singular passion— synchronized swimming. Following her mother's death Jenny is forced to relocate to a mountain village in Abruzzo and become the caretaker for her incapacitated father and her young brother Fabrizio. While working at a local hotel she finds an empty, nocturnal space for her old life— the hotel pool.
Capturing the subjective experience of a young girl whose dreams transcend her circumstances, Clorois a naturalistic portrait of adolescence rich with observational details. Lamberto Sanfelice's debut feature premiered at Sundance and Berlin, and was nominated for Best New Director at Italy's David di Donatello Awards.
Arianna is 19 years old and still has not had her first menstrual cycle. During the summer Arianna returns with her parents to a vacation home on Lake Bolsena where she spent the earliest years of her childhood. Here, small objects seem to be endowed with greater significance, clues to Arianna's understanding of her body, and her past. An encounter with her young cousin Celeste, whose feminine figure is distinctly different than Arianna's, as well as the fact that, unlike her, Celeste has already lost her virginity, pushes Arianna to confront the true nature of her sexuality.
Ariannaintricately chronicles an adolescent girl's journey to understanding her sexual identity, her body, and the history of her gender. Carlo Lavagna's first featurepremiered at BFI London, Rotterdam, Göteborg and Venice's Giornate degli Autori where it was nominated for the Queer Lion, and won Best Actress in a Debut Film.
Well-respected Italian theatre artist Eleonora Danco returns to Terracina, the coastal town of her youth in search of lost memories but instead encounters a world she hardly recognizes— places she once knew have either disappeared or been torn down to make way for shopping malls. Grappling with the unexpected passing of her mother 10 years prior, Danco interrogates Terracina's teenagers and elders on the perennial subjects of their first sexual experience, love, God, and death. Her father, however, proves the most cantankerous subject.
Blending farce with poetry, N-Capacecrackles with both the wit of humor and genuine inquiry into the fabric of our nature. Eleonora's first film premiered at Lincoln Center's Open Roads New Italian Cinema Series, as well as Turin, where it won Best Actor and Best Film.