Italics Film Series at the MCA

12.20.09

My friend Gwen is curating a great series of Italian films throughout January at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Check showtimes and listings below:

The Italics Film Series focuses on highly acclaimed films made from 1969-81, a period that marks the transition in Italian filmmaking from national to international co-production. Programmed to resonate with the exhibition Italics, the series explores paths of revolution and tensions with tradition across various contexts. Beginning with the metamorphosis of the family and continuing through evolving sociopolitical tensions, the series finally erupts into themes of newfound identity, language, and perspectives on the past.

Featuring rare 35mm prints, all screenings take place in the MCA Theater.

Tickets $8, MCA members $6
Buy Tickets Online
or call the MCA Box Office, 312.397.4010

Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man (La tragedia di un uomo ridicolo), 1981
Thursday, January 7, at 6 pm
Saturday, January 9, at 3 pm
Sunday, January 10, at 3 pm
Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci
Cinematography by Carlo Di Palma
In Italian with English subtitles, 116 minutes
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 Southern Italy, in which a father raised a ransom that he kept for himself.

The Decameron (Il Decameron), 1971
Saturday, January 9, at 1 pm
Sunday, January 10, at 1 pm
Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
Cinematography by Tonino Delli Colli
In Italian with English subtitles, 107 minutes
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
Thursday, January 14, at 6 pm
Saturday, January 16, 3 pm
Sunday, January 17, at 3 pm
Directed by Elio Petri
Cinematography by Luigi Kuveiller
In Italian with English subtitles, 112 minutes
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
Saturday, January 16, at 1 pm
Sunday, January 17, at 1 pm
Directed by Francesco Rosi
Cinematography by Pasqualino De Santis
In Italian with English subtitles, 127 minutes
Cleverly named after the surrealist technique cadavre exquis, this elegant, atmospheric mystery draws elements from giallo, poliziottesco, and thriller genres. Adapted from Equal Danger, a novel about organized crime by Leonardo Sciascia.
This film print is of lower quality, and is being shown for its extreme rarity.

The Passenger (Professione: reporter), 1975
Thursday, January 21, at 6 pm
Saturday and Sunday, January 23 and 24, at 3 pm
Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
Cinematography by Luciano Tovoli
In English, 126 minutes
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
Saturday, January 23, at 1 pm
Sunday, January 24, at 1 pm
Directed by Enzo G. Castellari
Cinematography by Giovanni Bergamini
In English, 99 minutes
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
Thursday, January 28, at 6 pm
Saturday and Sunday, January 30 and 31, at 3:30 pm
Directed by Federico Fellini
Cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno
In English, 164 minutes
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
Saturday and Sunday, January 30 and 31, at 1 pm
Directed by Luchino Visconti
In English, 150 minutes
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 and is considered Visconti’s most controversial film.

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