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Last modified: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Italian cinema symposium April 7-11 at IU Bloomington to feature acclaimed director Giuseppe Piccioni

Giuseppe Piccioni, one of Italy's most respected film directors, will be among the participants in a five-day symposium on his native country's contemporary cinema at Indiana University Bloomington April 7-11.

Guiseppe Piccioni

Guiseppe Piccioni

The event is organized by IU's Department of French and Italian. The symposium will feature several films, documentaries and shorts and more than 40 presentations. Scholars and film fans from across the country and around the world will discuss aspects of modern and contemporary Italian production.

Piccioni will introduce and discuss four of his films, including his latest, Giulia non esce la sera (Giulia Doesn't Date at Night), which stars Valerio Mastandrea and Valeria Golino, perhaps best known to U.S. audiences from the Academy Award-winning film Rain Man. The 2009 film was selected for major festivals in London; Toronto, Canada; Pusan, South Korea; and Goteborg, Sweden.

He also will present Fuori dal mondo (Not of this World), Luce dei miei occhi (Light of my Eyes) and La vita che vorrei (The Life I Want). Campus and community members are welcome to attend the symposium and its screenings at no cost. Location information is available online at He also will visit classes.

"I felt that it was time to show the rest of the world, particularly the United States, that Italian contemporary cinema is alive and it did not die with Fellini," Antonio Vitti, IU professor of Italian cinema and the symposium organizer, said with a chuckle. "It's been creating some real outstanding films . . . They're very artistic."

In the 1960s and 1970s, Italian cinema was identified by auteurs such as Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Bernardo Bertolucci, Sergio Leone and Lina Wertmüller, but the industry fell out of worldwide favor during the 1980s.

Vitti, who joined the IU faculty a year ago from Wake Forest University, noted that many of the new classic Italian films were very political in nature. With the fall of communism and other geopolitical issues, many filmmakers lost their way.

Piccioni is considered among a new generation of directors who have brought Italian cinema back into worldwide prominence.

After studying under Renzo Rossellini at the Gaumont Film School from 1980-83, Piccioni made his directorial debut in 1987 with Il grande Blek, which won the De Sica Award for the best new Italian film of the year. The film was screened at that year's Berlin Film Festival and also won the Nastro d'Argento.

His next film, Chiedi la luna, won a Grolla d'oro for best director and was selected for the 1991 Venice Film Festival.

Giulia non esce la sera

"Giulia non esce la sera (Giulia Doesn't Date at Night)" is one of Piccioni's films that will be screened.

Piccioni established himself internationally in 1999 as his film Fuori dal mondo went on to win five David di Donatello awards for Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Producer and Best Editing. It garnered four Ciaks d'Oro as well as the Special Grand Prize of the Jury Award at Montreal and both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize at the AFI festival.

He has worked with many of the most important Italian actors, including Margherita Buy (several times), Silvio Orlando, Sergio Rubini, Luigi Lo Cascio and Sandra Ceccarelli.

Other topics being discussed over the five-day conference will include the legacy of the late filmmaker Fellini and how issues such as political history, crime, immigration, faith and sexual identity are presented in modern Italian film.

Other presenters will include Emiliano Morreale, a respected film critic and script reader; Gian Piero Brunetta, Italy's foremost historian of Italian cinema, who has published on the entire history of Italian film from the silent era to the present; and Peter Bondanella, IU distinguished professor emeritus of comparative literature, film studies and Italian, who was one of the first American scholars to embrace Italian cinema in the early 1970s.

For symposium participants from outside IU, the registration fee is $40 ($30 for students) for the conference and $45 for a special banquet dinner. Those with additional questions may contact Vitti, at 812-855-2508 and; or Andrea Ciccarelli, 812-855-6029 or

"A Symposium on Modern and Contemporary Italian Cinema" is sponsored by the IU College of Arts and Sciences, the Mary-Margaret Barr Koon Fund, the IU College Arts & Humanities Institute, the Olga Ragusa Fund for the Study of Modern Italian Literature and Culture, the IU West European Studies Center and the IU European Union Center.

This story was originally published March 29, 2010.