Showing posts with label Marcello Mastroianni. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marcello Mastroianni. Show all posts

8 January 2015

Vittorio Di Sica's Sunflower Starring Sophia Loren Re-Mastered To Be Re-released On DVD

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Oscar-winning screen siren Sophia Loren's classic Sunflower finally gets the release it deserves as it arrives on DVD and VOD in a stunningly re-mastered version, presented in its original widescreen format courtesy of Argent Films.

Loren (Two Women, A Special Day) and award-winning leading man Marcello Mastroianni (Dolce Vita, 8 1/2) are newlywed lovers torn apart by war, despite almost impossible odds they never give up on one another. Originally released in 1970, the film comes to DVD in a newly restored version, taken from HD elements, befitting its sumptuous photography (by Giuseppe Rotunno, who lit most Italian headliners including The Leopard, he was Fellini's cinematographer and received an Oscar nomination for All That Jazz), and production values. Sunflower is presented for the first time in its entirety featuring eight minutes of previously unseen scenes and comes complete with an exclusive documentary Sophia, Yesterday Today Tomorrow, woven around an intimate interview with Loren. The DVD comes with alternative language options: the English language version and optional Italian audio with new improved, switchable, English subtitles.

Twelve days before WW II breaks out, Giovanna (Loren) marries Antonio (Mastroianni), with no desire to fight in the conflict he fakes insanity in an attempt to avoid the draft. Officials see through
the charade and Antonio is sent to the Russian front, where soldiers must endure unbearable freezing temperatures and a short supply of rations.

As the war ends, Antonio is left to die in the snow on the Russian front, but is found by a beautiful Russian girl who hides him and helps him recover. Giovanna refuses to believe that her missing in action husband is dead and travels to the sunflower plains of Ukraine - seemingly to the end of the earth, in by-then post-war Russia - to search for the man she vowed she would never abandon.

Produced by Loren's husband, Carlo Ponti of Doctor Zhivago fame, Sunflower recalls Zhivago with its rich, wide-vista production of this heartfelt drama of war-torn lovers. Underpinned by Henry Mancini's Oscar-nominated rousing score and magnificently directed by one of Italy's greatest filmmakers, Vittorio De Sica (Bicycle Thieves, Two Women), who taps into his Neo-realist roots to depict the human tragedy of war-displaced persons as seen through the heroic determination of Loren's character.

SUNFLOWER will also launch on iTunes on 26 January followed by other selected VOD platforms exclusively for rental & download to own

10 November 2013

Blu-Ray Review - Federico Fellini's 8½

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Arthouse, World Cinema, Drama, Classic
Release Date:
11th November 2013 (UK)
Argent Films
Federico Fellini
Marcello Mastroianni, Anouk Aimee, Sandra Milo, Barbara Steele
Buy 8 ½: [DVD] or [Blu-ray]

8 ½ is one of those films like Citizen Kane or 2001: A Space Odyssey that every film critic pretty much agrees is one of the films that changed film forever. It’s a film that influenced a wide range of films from Brazil to All That Jazz and Woody Allen’s unfairly maligned Stardust Memories. The great Italian maestro film director Federico Fellini was at the helm and it’s quite possibly the greatest film ever made about making a film. 8 ½ was later adapted/remade at the musical Nine but the less said about that the better.

The plot concerns Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) who is a director who is having “director’s block” while trying to finish a science fiction film. Guido is quite obviously based on Fellini and Mastroianni was always director’s alter ego on screen. Guido’s marriage is failing apart and has lost interest in finishing the film. The film is a classic mixture of fantasy, memories and reality and at times it’s never clear which is which.

8 ½ like many of the truly great films like Citizen Kane or Brazil it’s all really a great big magic trick. Fellini was first and foremost a dreamer like Orson Welles and Terry Gilliam, who cites Fellini as his biggest influence and 8 ½ as his favourite film. He tried to make cinematic dreams with his great films and he plays around with time and space but also the form of cinema itself. Its both a film that plays with avant-garde film techniques but simultaneously is also extremely watchable and relatively commercial and in turn it’s a pitch-perfect juggling act.

Fellini was also a cartoonist (like Gilliam) and his post-Neo-Realist films certainly have a cartoonish take on life. The characters at times especially the female characters have an also caricature quality to them in the best possible way. It’s all shot in truly beautiful black and white widescreen by Gianni Di Venanzo who was the Italian cinematographer of the early 60s but he died very young sadly.

8 ½ has rightfully earned its reputation at simply one of the greatest film ever made. It’s really THE Fellini film and you really must experience the film if you haven’t already. It’s film like Citizen Kane that was one of the building blocks of modern cinema.


Ian Schultz

23 September 2013

La Notte (The Night) Masters Of Cinema Blu-Ray Review (1961)

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BD/DVD Release Date:
23rd September 2013 (UK)
Eureka Video
Michelangelo Antonioni
Jeanne Moreau, Marcello Mastroianni, Monica Vitti
Buy La Notte:
(Blu-ray) / [DVD]

La Notte is a classic slice of Antonioni. It was made in his native Italy before he later came west and made films such as Blow-Up, Zabriskie Point and The Passenger. It was made at the height of the Italian art films of the early with other films such 8 ½, The Leopard and Accattone. These filmmakers were influenced by or either had their start in the Italian neo-realist movement of the 40s and early 50s. The films instead being about social issues become increasing more internalised and dealt with much more existential themes about alienation and men’s role in modern society.

The film is set during the course of one day not unlike Antonioni’s Blow-Up. La Notte is about a upper middle class married couple, the man Giovanni Pontano (Marcello Mastroianni) and his wife Lidia (Jeanne Moreau). Giovanni is a writer and his latest book La stagine (The Season) has been recently published. They film starts with them visiting a friend in hospital who is terminally ill. Lidia is so upset by the state of her friend she leaves early but Giovanni stays on. On his way out he is almost seduced by a crazy young woman but the nurses pull them apart.

During the course of the day the couple head off to the writer’s book launch party. His wife wonders off from the party but they meet up again in their old neighbourhood, they lived there when they were newly wed. They decide to go to a nightclub and later a party. Over the course of the day their marriage and communication is tested to its limits.

The film is noted for its use of landscape that is empty and barren much like the film’s main protagonists. The film’s credits are over an astonishing shot of city of the Milan from a skyscraper as the camera slowing descends. The film is deliberately made so it bores you at times just like how the married couple is bored of each other.

The film boosts 2 outstanding performances from Mastroianni and Moreau who were really at the top of their game. The character Giovanni is too involved in his narcissistic and needs to plan things. Lidia is the opposite she is too involved in the real word cause she just wonders and distracted by things in the sky and so on.

La Notte is well remembered for it’s stunning cinematography by Gianni Di Venanzo who also shoot 8 ½ starring Mastroianni. Gianni shot the majority of Antonioni’s Italian films. La Notte uses lots of high contrast black and white photography especially at the party segment of the film that is simply breaktaking as is the lighting.

The film was a favourite of Stanley Kubrick, Ingmar Bergman and Andrei Tarkovsky. All these filmmakers had a similar detached view or even cold aesthetic so it’s no surprise that they found a kindred spirit in Antonioni even though Bergman did have a real love/hate thing with his films. It’s a fascinating film with gorgeous cinematography, great performances and a perfect blend of a passion, emotion but also emotional coldness.


Ian Schultz

5 March 2013

Atonioni's La Notte To Get The Masters Of Cinema Blu-Ray Treatment This April

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Eureka Entertainment have announced that they will be releasing LA NOTTE on Blu-ray for the first time anywhere in the world on 22 April 2013. One of the most famous international films of the 1960s, directed by the master filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni (L'avventura, Red Desert, Blow Up, Il grido, Le amiche, Zabriskie Point), LA NOTTE stars two of the biggest stars of the European cinema: Marcello Mastroianni (La dolce vita, 8-1/2) and Jeanne Moreau (Jules et Jim, Bay of Angels)

One of the masterworks of 1960s cinema, La notte [The Night] marked yet another development in the continuous stylistic evolution of its director, Michelangelo Antonioni — even as it solidified his reputation as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. La notte is Antonioni’s "Twilight of the Gods", but composed in cinematic terms. Examined from a crane-shot, it’s a sprawling study of Italy’s upper middle-class; seen in close-up, it’s an x-ray of modern man’s psychic desolation.

Two of the giants of film-acting come together as a married couple living in crisis: Marcello Mastroianni (La dolce vita, 8-1/2) and Jeanne Moreau (Jules et Jim, Bay of Angels). He is a renowned author and "public intellectual"; she is "the wife". Over the course of one day and the night into which it inevitably bleeds, the pair will come to re-examine their emotional bonds, and grapple with the question of whether love and communication are even possible in a world built out of profligate idylls and sexual hysteria.

Photographed in rapturous black-and-white by the great Gianni di Venanzo (8-1/2, Giulietta degli spiriti), La notte presents the beauty of seduction, then asks: "When did this occur — this seduction of Beauty?" The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Michelangelo Antonioni’s haunted odyssey for the first time ever on Blu-ray.


• New 1080p presentation of the film in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio with previously censored sequences restored for the first time

• New and improved English subtitles

• Original Italian theatrical trailer

• 56-page booklet with an essay by film-critic and scholar Brad Stevens, and the transcript of a lengthy Q&A conducted in 1961 with Antonioni upon the film’s release.

Pre-order / Buy: LA NOTTE [THE NIGHT] (Masters of Cinema) (Blu-ray)

24 February 2013

City Of Women Blu-Ray Review (Masters Of Cinema Release)

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City of Women was one of the great Federico Fellini’s very last films. It along with most of later work commercially and critically unsuccessful. It premiered at the Cannes film festival in 1980 and was lambasted by the critics and even fellow filmmakers like the great but miserable sod Andrei Tarkovsky who called the film “worthless”. However the film is about as Fellini-esq as you can get and deserves reappraisal.

The film is about the middle age Snàporaz (Marcello Mastroianni) and Snàporaz like all of Mastroianni character’s in Fellini’s films is the director’s alter ego (this is most obvious in 8½ and it’s also his first lead role in a Fellini film since 8½). Snàporaz is on a train going home but he sees a big breasted women and they have brief fling in the bathroom but it’s cut short and the women must get off the train. Snàporaz follows her off the train and eventually finds him at a feminist polyandry conference. The film from that point becomes a bunch of increasing surreal vignettes which include roller skating, druggy lesbian post-punk teenagers who try to kill Snàporaz, attempted rape by a fat women, a court to test his masculinity among others.

The film came out after a difficult time for Fellini after some not entirety successful films he made in the wake of his classic Amarcord. What Fellini does with City of Women is to do a gloriously over the top sex farce with surrealistic touches throughout, there is hilarious sex scene which a women with an enormous ass which is obviously fake. However like Fellini’s work it’s really a film about his love/fear of women. Fellini was interested in feminism but he certainly wasn’t a feminist despite the fact the women in the film he certain sympathies with because they being mistreated by the male population. He certain makes the feminists in the film laughably absurd but Snàporaz is as well and the character Dr. Katzone with his mansion full of sexual art and absurd phallic sculptures.

The film’s centrepiece is the well-known scene after he crawls under his bed he enters a dreamlike slide where he revisits all childhood crushes. Which is beautiful filmed by Giuseppe Rotunno (who later worked with Fellini’s disciple Terry Gilliam) and constructed.

Overall the film is a really fun surrealist romp though the loves and desires of Federico Fellini, it’s not 8½ but what is? It isn’t without it’s flaws however, it’s a bit too long and has some over dubbing ever on a film, most evident in the conference scene in the beginning. Worth checking out especially with Masters of Cinema’s beautiful hd transfer.

Ian Schultz


Rating: 18
BD/DVD Release Date: 25th February 2013 (UK)
Buy City Of WomenDVD / Blu-ray

15 January 2013

Federico Fellini's City Of Women Gets Masters Of Cinema Blu-Ray Release

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CITY OF WOMEN [LA CITTÀ DELLE DONNE / LA CITÉ DES FEMMES] will be released as part of Eureka Entertainment’s MASTERS OF CINEMA Series on Blu-ray & DVD on 25 February 2013

Eureka Entertainment have announced that they will be releasing a gorgeous new HD restoration of the long out-of-circulation epic CITY OF WOMEN [LA CITTÀ DELLE DONNE / LA CITÉ DES FEMMES] by the legendary Italian director Federico Fellini (La strada, Nights of Cabiria, La dolce vita, 8-1/2, Amarcord) on Blu-ray & DVD on 25 February 2013.  The film is an unprecedented cinematic spectacle, produced in part by France's Gaumont Studio, and stars the most famous Italian actor of the 20th Century, Marcello Mastroianni, reprising his 8-1/2 role.

Federico Fellini's epic 1980 fantasia introduced the start of the Maestro's delirious late period. A surrealist tour-de-force filmed on soundstages and locations alike, and overflowing with the same sensory (and sensual) invention heretofore found only in the classic movie-musicals (and Fellini's own oeuvre), La città delle donne [City of Women] taps into the era's restless youth-culture, coalescing into nothing less than Fellini's post-punk opus.

Marcello Mastroianni appears as Fellini's alter ego in a semi-reprise of his character from 8-1/2, Snàporaz. As though passing into a dream, the charismatic avatar finds himself initiated into a phantasmagoric world where women — or an idea of women — have taken power, and which is structured like an array of psychosexual set-pieces — culminating in a bravura hot-air balloon that decisively sticks the "anti" up into "climax".

A great adventure "through the looking-glass," as it were, of Fellini's own phallic lens and life-long libidinal ruminations, La città delle donne sharply divided critics at the 1980 Festival de Cannes, some of whom had merely anticipated a nostalgic retread of the earlier Mastroianni works. What they were greeted with, and what remains today, is, in the words of Serge Daney, "a victory of cinema". The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present La città delle donne on Blu-ray and DVD in Gaumont's glorious new HD restoration.


• Glorious new HD restoration of the film, presented in 1080p on the Blu-ray.
• Newly translated optional subtitles.
• Substantial booklet containing writing on the film, vintage excerpts, and rare archival imagery.
• More features to be announced closer to the release date!