Sunday, June 2, 2013

Open Roads 2013: Marco Tullio Giordana's PIAZZA FONTANA: The Italian Conspiracy

The original Italian title of this film -- Romanzo di una strage ("Story of a massacre") -- is a lot less cumbersome, but for American audiences, it must have been imagined (even for those sophisticated foreign-language/
arthouse patrons), that the word "conspiracy," together with one of those famous Italian fountains-cum-piazza, might bring in the ticket-buyers. In any case, PIAZZA FONTANA: The Italian Conspiracy is the first and only film so far in this year's Opens Roads series to have been picked up for U.S. distribution (Adopt Films by way of Kino Lorber).

Directed and co-written by Marco Tullio Giordana (shown at right) -- who a decade ago gave us that modern Italian classic The Best of Youth -- the film explores a famous bombing (and its aftermath) of-and-in a bank, below, on that titular piazza back in 1969. This took place during the time of the anarchy/violence-driven left wing Red Guards and the perhaps even more violence-driven right wing (of course nicely undercover, as the right wing so often is), who would have been delighted to see a return to the Mussolini-like tactics of Italy's Fascist era.

I'll have more to say upon the theatrical release of this most interesting, dark and depressing documentary-like narrative thriller that will only make you even more certain that little has changed in Italy over the past nearly half a century -- except fashions, cars and interior decor.

Two of the country's best actors have leading roles here: Open Roads regulars Pierfrancesco Favino (above, left) and Valerio Mastandrea (above, right), supported by a host of fine performers. The plot, if you can call it that, is utterly Byzantine by American standards. Even for those of us non-Italians who have followed (or at least boned up) on Italian 20th Century history may have a difficult time following all the ins and outs of what is actually going on. (Although the point of this film, if I am not mistaken, is how little any of us, including Italians, can know of what has transpired, so convoluted and secretive is much of what went on then, as now.)

The film has been directed by Signore Giordana in a palette of dark colors: lots of blues, browns and greys. There is hardly a scene in the sun in the entire film. The movie from last year's Open Roads that this one most reminded me of in terms of reliving history is Diaz: Don't Clean Up This Blood (click and scroll down), though this one is much quieter, more removed and full of nasty uncertainty, while Daniele Vicari's Diaz is head-on, full-out and open throttle. Though the style and time-frame of the two films are quite different, the one thing you'll want most to see in both is some justice done. Justice? You jest.

Piazza Fonatana: The Italian Conspiracy, running 129 minutes, will play twice at Open Roads at the FSLC's Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center: Friday, June 7th at 8:30pm and again Wednesday, June 12 at 6:15pm. Click here to see the entire Open Roads program and schedule.

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