The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Screens Classic Italian Films that Changed the World of Cinema

. December 30, 2009 . 0 Comments

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago, screens classic Italian films that changed the world of cinema January 7-31, 2010. The selected films resonate with the political, familial, and design themes of the “Italics: Italian Art between Tradition and Revolution 1968-2008” exhibition. Italics, a ground-breaking exhibition devoted to contemporary Italian art and creativity, presents work that embraces classical roots yet breaks away from traditions. The ‘Italics Film Series’ presents rare 35mm prints of highly acclaimed films made between 1970 and 1981; significant years during Italy’s social transformation.

‘Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man’ (La tragedia di un uomo ridicolo), 1981
The owner of a parmesan cheese factory faces bankruptcy when his son is kidnapped by terrorists demanding a ransom. But is the abduction a hoax to extort money for his son’s leftist friends? A tragicomedy based on a true event in which a father raised a ransom that he kept for himself.

The Decameron (Il Decameron), 1971
Adapted from Boccaccio’s classic novel, Pasolini satirizes church, state, and class structures with an eroticized vision of daily life in 14th-century Italy. Pasolini himself appears as a fresco painter and student of Giotto, wondering if perhaps “it’s enough to dream a masterpiece rather than paint it.”

Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto), 1970
A fascist police inspector murders his mistress for the perverse pleasure of leading the crime’s investigation himself. A biting black satire and cinema politico classic. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1970.

Illustrious Corpses (Cadaveri Eccellenti), 1976
Cleverly named after the surrealist technique ‘exquisite corpse’, this elegant, atmospheric mystery draws elements from Italian crime fiction and mystery (giallo and poliziottesco) genres. Adapted from Equal Danger, a novel about organized crime by Leonardo Sciascia. This film print is of lower quality, yet is being shown for its extreme rarity.

The Passenger (Professione: reporter), 1975
Jack Nicholson stars as a television journalist covering guerrilla activity in the Sahara Desert. Disenchanted with his life, he steals the identity of an Englishman who dies in a neighboring hotel room. Ending with a famed seven-minute shot, The Passenger is a disquieting exploration of self and alienation. This is a restored, recently re-released film print that includes an additional 6.5 minutes of scenes previously cut from the US version.

The Inglorious Bastards (Quel maledetto treno blindato), 1978
Set in WWII, a group of American soldiers escape en route to military prison. On the way to Switzerland, they unwittingly volunteer to steal a Nazi V-2 rocket gyroscope. An English language “macaroni combat” war film.

Fellini’s Casanova (Il Casanova di Federico Fellini), 1976
Charged with heresy and possession of books on black magic, Giacomo Casanova escapes Venetian prison into exile. He wanders throughout Europe into a series of bizarre seductions. Fellini’s portrayal is haunting and solipsistic, with dazzling mise-en-scene.

The Damned (La caduta degli Dei), 1969
During the rise of Nazism, an industrialist family co-opts fascist values to horrific ends in this operatic allegory of human complicity with evil. Originally titled The Fall of the Gods, The Damned depicts the implosion of a country through a single family. This is considered Visconti’s most controversial film.

www.mcachicago.org

Category: Museum News

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