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Movie Rambles: Sicilian Ghost Story (2017)

One of the movies I’ve studied during the last months was Sicilian Ghost Story, written and directed by Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza. I also had the fortune of attending a talk by Piazza himself, where he revealed technical and behind-the-scene details and explained their choice of dealing with a tough subject in the way they did.

The movie is based on the short story Un cavaliere bianco, found in the collection Non saremo confusi per sempre, in which the author, Marco Mancassola, retells famous, tragic Italian cases in a fairytale-like manner. That is also what Grassadonia and Piazza chose to do when adapting the Mafia kidnapping of 13-year-old Giuseppe Di Matteo to film.

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Media, Movie Rambles

Movie Rambles: My Top 20 Michael Nyqvist Films

Swedes and movie buffs, especially fans of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and John Wick, were shocked to learn of Michael Nyqvist’s death at the age of 56 on 27th June.

I discovered him through some of his most popular Swedish films. Ironically, the news of his passing came out while I was finishing the Millenium trilogy, which had catapulted the Swedish actor to international fame.

And so I wanted to rewatch his films and catch up with most of his works. Naturally, I couldn’t watch everything due to lack of time and availability, and some of those I watched were hard to get. But I’m lucky to have a native Swede and a big movie fan as a partner, so I thank Matt for all the help and patience throughout this month! 💕

Today, one month from his passing, I’m proposing my personal top 20 films with Michael Nyqvist. My ranking is based on a combination of the films’ quality, Nyqvist’s performances and the relevance of his roles.

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Media, Movie Rambles

Movie Rambles: Fire at Sea

© Stemal Entertainment, 21 Unofilm

I usually don’t follow the Academy Awards, except for the full list of winners the day after and some highlights which the media keeps pushing in my face.

This year was different. I was compelled to follow the shortlisting process because of two particular films which eventually made it to the final list of nominees. One of them is the Swedish film A Man Called Ovebased on the best book I read last year and nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.

The other movie I’m interested in is an Italian docu-film, Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare), which I saw on the closing night of an Italian film festival last December (check out my review of another film from that festival). Italy submitted this film – directed by Gianfranco Rosi – for two categories: it didn’t make it to the final five for Best Foreign Language Film, but it was indeed nominated for Best Documentary Feature.

Fire at Sea has already received international accolades; the most significant award was the Golden Bear at last year’s Berlin International Film Festival. It deals with a subject that is extremely relevant these days: the plight of migrants who risk everything crossing borders (and the Mediterranean sea in this case) in search of a better life.

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Media, Movie Rambles

Movie Rambles: Perfect Strangers

© Medusa Film / Lotus Productions

In December, I attended an Italian film festival featuring some interesting movies, documentaries and shorts from the last couple of years.

The main attraction on the first of the three-day festival was Perfect Strangers (Perfetti sconosciuti), an award-winning comedy-drama written and directed by Paolo Genovese and released in February 2016. Genovese is a commercially successful, pluri-nominated director and scriptwriter, known for The Immature (Immaturi, 2010) and Tutta colpa di Freud (translates to “All Freud’s fault”, 2014).

Although Italian comedies are often considered clichéd and banal (like Hollywood comedies and many others which exist in every country), Perfect Strangers stands out because its humour derives from a thought-provoking issue which can alter the way we understand social life.

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Media, Movie Rambles

Movie Rambles: Rush


© Exclusive Media

One sport that I have followed since I was a tween is Formula 1. In fact, I define myself as an F1 fan.

In 2015, French driver Jules Bianchi’s death shocked the F1 world, not only because he was young and promising, but also because the sport had been considered relatively safe since the tragic death of legendary Ayrton Senna back in 1994. Apart from a few freak incidents, we’re thankfully far from seeing the tragedies that plagued this sport from the 50s to the 80s. In those days, cars were less resistant to high-speed impacts – they easily got mangled or caught fire – and the drivers’ attires weren’t as protective as they are today. All that, as well as the configuration of some race tracks, made this a dangerous job for these drivers. No wonder many of them lost their lives.

Yet sometimes, either by luck or by willpower, some drivers survived serious accidents. And when it comes to Formula 1 survivors, the first name that should come to everyone’s mind is that of the Austrian Niki Lauda. For, on the 1st of August of 40 years ago, not only did he survive a fiery crash at the German Grand Prix in Nürburgring but also managed a strong comeback after just a few weeks.

Besides his accident, which left him disfigured, Lauda was known for his rivalry with British driver James Hunt. Both the 1976 accident and all the events surrounding it have been portrayed in the 2013 film Rush. Thanks to the talented director and producer Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind), young F1 fans as well as those who have never followed the sport were able to discover these two great sportsmen and what led them to become notorious.

So on this occasion, I am remembering the Hunt vs. Lauda 1976 battle by reviewing Rush and by seeing how it depicted Formula 1 in the 70s.

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