The Wonders by Alice Rohrwacher (2014)

Alice Rohrwacher, as shown by her lovely first feature film, Corpo Celeste, and her latest, The Wonders, is a first-rate filmmaker and thoroughly original storyteller. Her films convey confidence in her work, ability and subject matter, a sense of real wonder for the world, and a compassion for people, especially young women. The Wonders, while…

Two Women by Vittorio de Sica (1960)

The threat of sexual violence pervades throughout Vittorio de Sica’s astute and complete La Ciociara, for which Sophia Loren won an Oscar. Throughout the film, de Sica captures the jittery, overhead threat of war; whether in Rome or in the countryside, Italians are avoiding bombs, listening to sirens, killed by bombs or otherwise sheltering in…

Jeanne Moreau: A Real Woman

When I think of Jeanne Moreau, I always think of her in La Notte in a black spaghetti-strap dress, chin down, eyeing Marcello Mastroianni carefully with her terrifying eyes. In French and Italian, from Antonioni to Malle, she delivers and seduces, even when you’re not sure whether to trust her. This month, the Jacob Burns…

San Francisco Film Festival: La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini

This year, the SFiFF featured a wonderfully-restored version of Fellini’s classic film, the first time I’ve seen it on the big screen. There is something about seeing a film the way it was originally intended – a cliché, yes, but nonetheless true. Everyone in the audience was in awe, regardless of whether we had seen…