FNC 2017 : Il Grande Silenzio (4K Restoration)

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Quentin Tarantino (and Cinematographer Robert Richardson) studied it before shooting The Hateful Eight. At the end of the 1960’s, 20th Century Fox Chief executive, Darryl Zanuck, was so offended by it, he refused to release it in America. It contains a superb score by Maestro Ennio Morricone and it stars screen legends Jean-Louis Trintignant and Klaus Kinski.

It took 50 years, but Sergio Corbucci’s seminal Spaghetti Western, Il Grande Silenzio (1968), has been finally restored (in 4K) by the Cineteca Nazionale of Rome using the film’s original negatives and sound elements. Corbucci’s film about outlaws, in late 19 century Utah, getting unexpected help from a silent gunslinger (Trintignant) against a group of bounty hunters, turns upside down numerous conventions of the Western genre.

A revisionist Western, Il Grande Silenzio was made by Continue reading

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FNC 2017: Faccia a Faccia (Special screening)

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The FNC 2017  is screening Sergio Sollima’s 1967 Spaghetti Western, Faccia a Faccia (Face to Face) in its English version.

It was an era of groundbreaking and unexpectedly high box office returns for Italian Cinema. Prior to the year 1967, Sergio Leone had put the final touch to a handful of successful Italian made Westerns (shot in the Andalusia desert) starring, now cult icon, Clint Eastwood, and dubbed the ‘Dollar trilogy’. By then, dozens of these so called Spaghetti Westerns where being made usually in a production triumvirate between Italy, Spain and Germany.

The social turmoil of the late 1960’s added a leftist dimension to the more politically inclined director Sergio Sollima’s ambitions to bring the old American West to the screen in Faccia a Faccia.

A School teacher traveling to the American West meets a group of Continue reading

FNC 2017: The mind bending world of Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani

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Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani are special guests of the 46th FNC this week. A unique occasion for Montreal film buffs to get acquainted with this peculiar duet of film makers from Belgium. During the Fest, their three features are showcased with a collection of their shorts (6), followed by an intriguing Masterclass, (Saturday October 7, 1:00 PM cinémathèque Québécoise ). They were also offered a Carte Blanche and they selected two classic westerns All’Italiana : Faccia a Faccia (1967) and Keoma (1976) to introduce  to the public. It is especifically with this kind of retrospective events that the fest can fulfill its mission to please pure film buffs.

Cattet and Forzani’s stylish work displays their solid affection for the Italian film genres of the 1960-70’s, notably the Giallo (the Italian word for yellow). These provocative films (even by today’s standards), a mix of slasher, horror and police investigation, were dubbed Gialli (in the plural form) as the ideas originated from a series of Pulp-like Continue reading

Ciao, Maestro Alessandroni! (1925-2017)

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Spaghetti Western’s main voice, Roman Maestro Alessandro Alessandroni, died Sunday. He was 92.

A gifted guitar player, Alessandroni is the famous whistling man heard on numerous Ennio Morricone scores, including those by the Sergio Leone-Clint Eastwood tandem. Beside playing various instruments he  founded (and directed) I Cantori Moderni, the insane ensemble choir  who provided for composer Ennio Morricone the hyenas sound and other thrilling voices to, as the best known example, The Good the Bad and the ugly, but also provided its fair share of gracious moments by featuring, among others, the voices of  Edda d’ell Orso (Once upon a time in the West) and Alessandroni’s  wife, Giulia De Mutiis.

Alessandro Alessandroni is a soundtrack hero who’s sound helped shape the soundtracks to come without ever being fully acknowledged for his valuable output.

I’ll cite soundtrack specialist Claudio Fuiano, about the death of the Maestro:

Ciao Alessandro!
Your guitar, your whistle, your choir are part of our existence of Cinema and Film Music lovers.

Well said. Ciao, Maestro!

One excerpt of a late Live performance – 2012:

RIDM 2016 : Opening Film – Fuocoammare

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When Gianfranco Rosi won top honor at Venice Film Fest in 2003, with Sacro Gra, it was the first time the Golden Lion went to a documentary feature. Rosi strike again this year, in Berlin, coming home from the Berlinale with the Golden Bear in his suitcase as the jury went for Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea).

With its 6000 inhabitants, the island of Lampedusa, 200km off Italy’s southern coast, is a gateaway for African and Middle Eastern migrants. Hundreds of them, crossing the Mediterranean sea, Continue reading