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      Open Roads: New Italian Cinema
    All two-way streets lead to Rome

    Motifs show up in twos — often angled in opposite directions — in the selection of recent Italian films at Lincoln Center's "Open Roads" festival.


    Watch any selection of the new Italian films in the "Open Roads" festival and it's uncanny how many of the same themes you'll see crop up in different films. Two characters struggle with economic change, two with illness, two with car accidents, and two with just growing up. One movie, "Caterina Va in Cittł," yanks a teenage girl out of small-town Montalto and lands her in Rome, while another, "La Destinazione," takes a young urbanite out of the capital and packs him off to military service in remote Sardinia. All "Open Roads" may lead to Rome, but make a U-turn and they also lead out into the unknown.

    Thirteen films from Italy.

    Related links: Official site
    Open Roads: New Italian Cinema
  • Festival overview
  • Caterina in the Big City (Caterina Va in Cittł)
  • La Destinazione
  • Now Or Never (Ora o Mai PiŁ)

    Other years
  • Open Roads 2003
    Two of the strongest films are "The Soul's Haven" and "I Love to Work," both dealing with the human effects of economic change. In "The Soul's Haven" ("Il Posto dell'Anima"), a coastal town grapples with the closure of the local tire plant on orders from the American headquarters. In "I Love to Work" ("Mi Piace Lavorare"), Nicoletta Braschi plays a low-level blue-collar accounting employee whose life is thrown into increasing chaos as a new corporate owner cracks down on efficiency. Both manage to focus on the human lives of the workers more than the relatively abstract business decisions that are affecting them. A third film, "Now or Never" ("Ora o Mai PiŁ"), picks up on the globalization issue in the story of university students who meet in the midst of the now-notorious protest movement surrounding the G8 summit in Genoa. Among the least heralded, it may actually be the best piece of work in the festival.

    "Facing Windows," due to be released by Sony Pictures Classics this month, starts with the mystery of an elderly man found wandering the streets, who seems to have lost his memory except for events of 60 years earlier. A well-to-do but constantly bickering young couple try to help the man, with more effect on their own consciousness than on the man's strange case.

    "Remember Me, My Love" ("Ricordati di Me," pictured above), also due for wider release, looks in on another couple facing disappointment. It's directed by Gabriele Muccino, following up last year's popular "The Last Kiss."

    Finally, "The Miracle" ("Il Miracolo") is another of the festival's finds. After being run down by a hit-and-run driver, a 12-year-old who should by all rights be dead makes a sudden, full recovery. When others get the idea that he can perform life-saving miracles, his life becomes increasingly complicated. The truth about what happened to him, like the film overall, remains intriguingly ambiguous.

    Festival articles



    Caterina in the Big City

    Small-town girl Caterina finds the big city of Rome much faster than she's prepared for in a comedy that's really about her fast-paced classmates and the awkward homecoming of her trouble-plagued dad.


    La Destinazione

    The story of a young military recruit sent to remote Sardinia is not as involving as you'd hope.


    Now or Never

    A group of hard-partying college students gear up to protest the Genoa G8 summit, in a portrayal that's as honest about the radicals' mixed motives as it is about their fate at the hands of violent Italian police.

    JUNE 1, 2004

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