During the month of November and as a continuation of last year's Opera Prima Italiana, Filmatique will host Opera Prima Italiana II, a collection of first films from some of the most exciting new directors in Italian cinema.
Gli Asteroidi from Germano Maccioni traces the antics of three teenagers amid the inevitable end of mankind, while Gabriele Mainetti mines similar anxieties of extinction and ecological disaster as the backdrop for his breakout superhero picture Lo Chiamavano Jeeg Robot (They Call Me Jeeg). Two portraits of adolescence provide disparate visions of gender and freedom amid marginal landscapes of Northern Italy and Naples, respectively— observational techniques and stunning cinematography evoke a voyeuristic atmosphere of boyhood in Fabio Bobbio's I Cormorani (The Cormorants), while Luca Bellino & Silvia Luzi's Il Cratere reveals the discord between a father's ambition and his young daughter's impossible dreams. Antonio Napoli's Così Parlò De Crescenzo chronicles the life and work of Luciano de Crescenzo, an intellectual icon of Naples' illustrious bygone past.
Featuring a blend of fiction, documentary and hybrid works, Filmatique's Opera Prima Italiana II Series excavates dystopian visions of a nation post-crisis vis-à-vis the glimmer of adolescence and the galvanizing force of art.
Gli Asteroidi, Germano Maccioni / Italy, 2017
Pietro, Ivan and their friend Fabio, aka "Cosmic," live in the once-prosperous Po Valley. Post-crisis, this is a vast and alienating landscape of abandoned factories and petty crimes committed by the infamous Candelabra gang. The 19-year olds resist the authority of their parents and their teachers, and resign themselves to a listless fate of foreclosed opportunities. When news breaks of a large asteroid being monitored by the local astronomical station, the boys become convinced that it will collide with earth and destroy mankind.
Hovering between fiction and documentary and punctuated with moments of philosophy, Gli Asteroidi portrays a new generation of Italy haunted by the threat of extinction. Germano Maccioni's feature debut premiered at Locarno and Gent.
Così Parlò De Crescenzo (Thus Spoke De Crescenzo), Antonio Napoli / Italy, 2017
Born in Naples, Luciano De Crescenzo graduated in engineering and worked as a programmer for IBM until 1976, when he escaped the routine of his 'corporate prison' and published his first book, Così parlò Bellavista. In the years since he would go on to establish himself as one of Europe's most prolific minds, publishing 43 books translated into 19 different languages with more than 20 millions copies sold.
Tracing the journey of a free thinker, engineer, writer, scriptwriter, actor and director through his life and work, Così Parlò De Crescenzo (Thus Spoke De Crescenzo) harnesses the energy of a man determined to transform the lives and culture of those around him. Antonio Napoli's debut documentary premiered at Italy's Biografilm Festival.
I Cormorani (The Cormorants), Fabio Bobbio / Italy, 2016
Matteo and Samuele are in the summer of their twelfth year. The spend their days wandering the forest, swimming in the river, gazing about the local mall. It is just like the summers that came before, but something is changing. The empty roads and warm and everlasting afternoons quiver with some imperceptible difference. A summer without beginning and without end, marked by friendship and the inexorable passage of time.
Nuanced and poetic, I Cormorani (The Cormorants) celebrates the mysteries of youth and the gauzy atmosphere of boyhood in an unnamed region of Northern Italy. Fabio Bobbio's feature film debut premiered at Visions du Reél, DOC/IT and SoleLuna Doc Film Festival.
Il Cratere, Luca Bellino & Silvia Luzi / Italy, 2017
Rosario pedals stuffed animals as a street seller in the fairgrounds on the outskirts of Naples. His young daughter Sharon displays a burgeoning musical talent, which Rosario sees as his ticket to escape poverty. Rosario becomes fascinated and obsessed with the dream of his daughter's fame, spending what money he has on music rights to turn her into a star of Italian folk music.
Set amid the gritty landscape of contemporary Naples, Il Cratere is an intimate and evocative neo-realist portrait of a father's ambitions and a young girl in search of freedom. The first narrative feature from documentary filmmakers Luca Crescenzo and Silvia Luzi premiered at Venice's Settimana della Critica, Göteborg; Tokyo, where it won the Special Jury Prize; and Crossing Europe Film Festival Linz, where it won the Special Jury Prize.
Lo Chiamavano Jeeg Robot (They Call Me Jeeg), Gabriele Mainetti / Italy, 2015
Enzo is a lonely thief living in present-day Rome. An escape from the police leads him into the Tiber, where he encounters radioactive waste that renders him dismally ill. He continues with his small-time crimes and before long realizes that he has gained superpowers from this fortuitous plunge into the river. Amid an alienated urban landscape gripped by fears of organized crime and terrorist plots, Enzo sets off in search of a crazy gangster called the Gypsy.
A gritty and absorbing Italian take on the superhero genre, Gabriele Mainetti's feature film debut premiered at Venice, Rome, Fantasia and Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival; Imagine Film Festival Amsterdam where it won the Silver Scream; and Bari, where it won Best Film in the First and Second Feature Competition. Lo Chiamavano Jeeg Robot (They Call Me Jeeg) also won Best New Director and Best Supporting Actor from the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists; Best Screenplay and Best New Director from FICE - Federazione Italiana Cinema d'Essai; and the David di Donatello Awards for Best New Director, Best Producer, Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Editing.