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Austria – From Visconti to Tornatore, Sicily in the movies

Many Italian films have Sicily as their common denominator, including The Earth Trembles by Luchino Visconti, Respiro by Emanuele Crialese, Forever Mery by Marco Risi and Cinema Paradiso by Giuseppe Tornatore. Sicily is an island of contradictions – a landing stage for thousands of migrants and a reflection of the poverty of southern Italy, but also a place rich in culture and fascinating contrasts resulting from a succession of foreign dominations over the centuries.  “Cinema in the islands: an Italian journey” is a major retrospective where Sicily, portrayed through movies that have left a mark on Italian cinema, is the star. The event, organized by the Österreichisches Filmmuseum together with the Italian Cultural Institute in Vienna, will run from 6 January to 9 February. The history of Sicily – and of a people who “only know the extremes” as Leonardo Sciascia wrote – is the focus of a rich retrospective by the Österreichisches Filmmuseum, whose programme features masterpieces produced by the most well-known Italian directors,. They include films about mafia crimes (Illustrious Corpses by Francesco Rosi), masterpieces of Neorealism (Stromboli by Roberto Rossellini), and also films from the ‘golden era’ of Italian move-making: from dramas like The Leopard by Luchino Visconti (1963) and The Adventure by Michelangelo Antonioni (1960), to satires like Divorce, Italian Style (1962) by Pietro Germi with Marcello Mastroianni and Stefania Sandrelli and Mafioso (1962) with Alberto Sordi, and finally the rebirth of Sicilian cinema after the 1980s, with Forever Mery, recalling the naturalism of cinema, and the most successful movies like Cinema Paradiso.

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