De Chirico L'enigma di un giornoSpeaking with director, producer, actress and writer Eleonora Danco about her most recent brainchild, N-Capace, I openly confessed to her that upon reading the synopsis/presentation of her docu-movie I was not optimistic. It read:
“This movie is about a woman’s conflict with her father, after her mother’s death […] In this journey between Terracina and Rome, amidst the grief that overcomes her, she speaks to elders and teenagers. […] [T]hus two generations having in common emptiness and anxiety undergo comparison.”

I told Eleonora I was wary of yet another neo-neo-realism movie with feminist undertones… and that frankly, the only thing that had caught my attention was Terracina. Having spent considerable time in the unassuming seaside town, I became curious regarding what movie could have come out of that place. Continua a leggere N-Capace

The Patience Stone

The Patience Stone2It was over dinner in Cannes that I first heard of Atiq Rahimi and his work. My Afghan friends Zaid and Massood are friends of Rahimi’s, and he had recently won the Prix Goncourt, a prestigious literary prize that since 1903 is given to French literary works. The award put Rahimi among Proust, Duras and Rimbaud, just to mention a few; the fact that this was Rahimi’s first book in French further ignited my curiosity and by the end of the week I was reading The Patience Stone.
A year later, attending by chance an Afghan cultural festival taking place at Paris’ Theatre de la Ville, the leaflet of the event featured an introduction by Rahimi: “In my country, music can be heard everywhere. Music is the way we have to survive, art is what saves us from the horror of reality.”
Rahimi was expected to arrive that evening but did not, much to my regret. I had questions for him, questions that will have to wait. Continua a leggere The Patience Stone

The Grandmaster

wong-kar-wai-670Amidst the vast majority of movies that are forgotten after five minutes, every once in a while there is a movie that changes you, one way or another, at least temporarily.  Sometimes, even days after you leave the movie theatre a feeling lingers, a feeling that what that movie has conveyed is still inside you. It may be the story, the message, the visual impact, or something else.  And then there is the movie that, together with this, also closes a circle.  Like Wong Kar Wai’s The GrandmasterContinua a leggere The Grandmaster


When my childhood days were spent in long, boring visits to relatives and parents’ friends, one of the pastimes was to comb the titles on their obscure libraries.  After long hours made bearable by bookshelf curiosity, I finally came to the conclusion that the most common book on Spanish-speaking households was not CervantesDon Quijote, but Pablo Neruda’s Confieso que he vivido (Memoirs).  Every home I visited had this book!  It made me wonder… The ubiquitous sight of the broad white spine and bold black letters slowly took me to the conclusion that I could never consider myself a truly cultured person of Spanish-language heritage if I had not read this book…
And the thickness and prestige scared me to death.
I had come to believe that reading Memoirs would be a kind of rite of passage:  I imagined myself reading it on a long train journey, maybe the Orient-Express, where the mystic combination of journey and book would change my life.    Continua a leggere Memorias

On the Road
If a book is not worth reading twice, it is not worth reading once

When the book first hit the public, in 1957, it really hit the public.  At first sight this book was telling the story of a group of American youths that went from the East Coast to the West Coast and back with seemingly no purpose other than the purpose of getting drunk, getting stoned, and getting laid.  Just in case anyone thought a setting like this needed additional salt and pepper, Jack Kerouac had put in some con-artist tricks, crazy driving and hints of homosexuality.  The public was happily shocked.  Following this and other books that shook standardized traditional society, the world was getting ready for the hippie era, and it had its manifesto.
I first read Kerouac’s book when Woodstock had already happened and was well out of fashion. There was no more novelty in youths frolicking around in stolen cars getting drunk, stoned and laid.   Video recordings from Woodstock and Allen Ginsberg being naughty in court were already well seated in archives.  What was then the big deal with this book if the story and the lifestyle were already demodé? Continua a leggere On the Road
If a book is not worth reading twice, it is not worth reading once

Prometheus by Ridley Scott

The enjoyment of the new Ridley Scott flick,  Prometheus, depends greatly on which one of the three kinds of public you fall into.  The first is a well-informed  moviegoer that knows the film is a prequel to the famous Alien saga.  The second – where I happened to  belong – gathers distracted 35+ viewers that think mixing Ridley Scott, sci-fi, a sophisticated title and 3D technology should, at the very least, bring a movie as memorable and groundbreaking as Scott’s 1980 Blade Runner.  The third group is the very young’s realm, those for whom Alien and Blade Runner are titles on the VOD “vintage sci-fi” section.  Continua a leggere Prometheus by Ridley Scott