Italy’s Women Filmmakers Set to Make Waves

The Berlinale in recent years has been a prime launching pad for Italian films directed by women, which though fewer in number to their male counterparts, make up a considerable portion of the country’s representation on the festival circuit — Alice Rohrwacher (“Happy as Lazzaro”) at Cannes, Susanna Nicchiarelli (“Nico”) at Venice, and Berlin regular Laura Bispuri (“Daughter of Mine”) are all festival faves.

Here is a compendium of new and upcoming Italian films and TV series directed by women including two (out of nine Italian titles overall) in Berlin this year.

Ordinary Justice
This first feature by Chiara Bellosi, who previously made several docs, looks at a day in a Turin courthouse where the lives of two women and a young girl on opposite sides of a murder case intersect. In Berlin, Generation 14Plus.

An observational doc by Valentina Pedicini is about a reclusive spiritual sect of kung fu practitioners in an isolated community in rural Italy led by a domineering man known as the Master. It has been making a splash since it premiered in Amsterdam at IDFA in November. In Berlin, Critics’ Week.

“Simple Women”
Chiara Malta’s feature film debut is about the infatuation of a young female filmmaker, played by Jasmine Trinca (“Fortunata”), with a washed-up indie star Elina Löwensohn (playing herself) whom she runs into by chance on a Rome sidewalk. She decides to make a film about her set in Bucharest and things take a strange turn. This film with an experimental aesthetic opened Toronto’s Discovery program last year.

“Miss Marx”
An English-language biopic starring Romola Garai as Karl Marx’s younger daughter Eleanor, one the first women to approach the themes of feminism, is from Italian director Susanna Nicchiarelli (“Nico, 1988”), and is now in post.

“Magari” (If Only)
This sentimental comedy set in the mid-1980s about the disconnect felt by kids with divorced parents is directed by Ginevra Elkann, making her debut after cutting her teeth as a producer of bold projects including Noaz Deshe’s “White Shadow” and Babak Jalali’s “Frontier Blues.” Pic opened last year’s Locarno Film Festival to positive reviews and will be soon be released in Italy.

A semiautobiographical drama set in a trailer park on the outskirts of Naples, “Nevia” marks the assured debut of Nunzia De Stefano, former wife and close collaborator of Matteo Garrone, who produced. Her tale of a 17-year-old whose life changes when the circus comes to town launched at Venice’s Horizons section and has since been making the festival rounds.

“Occhi Blu” (Blue Eyes)
Actor Michela Cescon is making her directorial debut with this revenge noir set in Rome’s criminal underworld. The pic stars Valeria Golino and is produced by Carlo Cresto-Dina (“Ordinary Justice”). It’s currently shooting.

“Chiara Ferragni Unposted”
An Amazon Prime documentary by Roman director Elisa Amoruso is about Italian fashion blogger-entrepreneur Chiara Ferragni, who has some 17 million Instagram followers. It scored €1.6 million ($1.7 million) in its September three-day release in Italian movie theaters. Amoruso is now in post on her first fiction feature, “Maledetta Primavera,” a coming-of-age drama, and is in prep on a series based on a bestselling Italian novel “Fedeltà,” which translates as “Faithfulness,” about romantic dilemmas of a Milanese couple in their 30s.

“Luna Nera”
Netflix’s third Italian original series is a fantasy rooted in historical reality about a group of women accused of being witches in 17th century Italy. The innovative show, now streaming, is directed by Francesca Comencini (“Gomorrah” the series), Nichiarelli and Paola Randi.

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