INDIA/River to River
Cinema La Compagnia and various venues in Florence
Ph. Majlend Bramo (from "Like sugar in milk")
Immerse yourself in India without setting foot outside Florence at the 18th edition of River to River, Italy’s only festival focused entirely on Indian cinema. Highlights will include the road comedy Karwaan from Akarsh Kurana (8.30pm, December 8); the tense drama Mulk, based on a true story in which a Hindu lawyer fights to defend her husband’s Muslim family as they experience hatred and Islamophobia in the wake of a terrorist attack (8.30pm, December 9); and the Bollywood rom-com Manmarzivaan, the festival’s grand finale, recently screened at the Toronto Festival (8.30pm, December 11). Outside the cinema halls, cooking classes, parties and photography exhibitions will run: mark your calendar especially for the Pink Panther Bollywood DJ set at Amble’ (11pm, December 7) and the photo show Like sugar in milk at Fondazione Studio Marangoni (vernissage at 6pm, December 6). For the full program, see www.rivertoriver.it.
Should you have been lodged under a Renaissance city rock the past few months, there’s a Marina Abramovic retrospective currently happening at Palazzo Strozzi. But there’s one tidbit of news even those of us above ground might have missed: for a nearly two-week stretch this December, the performance artist’s landmark work “The House with the Ocean View” will be re-staged at the ongoing exhibition The Cleaner, making its Italian premiere. First exhibited in 2002, the much-imitated, much-mocked, and generally pot-stirring performance art piece consisted in Abramovic taking up residence in New York’s Sean Kelly Gallery for 12 days, fasting, remaining silent and (effectively) trapped inside a suspended structure supported by a ladder with rungs made of blades. Hours for the exhibition and this Italian debut are from 10am-8pm daily and 10am-11pm Thursdays; as for what the artist gets up to after closing, it’s all left to the honor system.
Ph. Daniela Verma
Come Festa dell'Immacolata on December 8, the city starts stepping up its Christmas game with the inauguration of the postcard-perfect piazza Duomo tree (5pm, December 8) and the official launch of the F-Light Festival, a series of videomapping installations and projections running on key Florentine monuments throughout the holiday season. Particularly timely this year will be the Leonardo-themed projections on the Ponte Vecchio, coinciding with the 500th anniversary of the master's birth in 2019, and the current Codex Leicester exhibition at the Uffizi. Other highlights to look out for will be an installation at the Artemio Franchi stadium (in Viola and calcio storico colors) and "F-Light Your Mind" projections on the Loggia dei Lanzi. See the schedule and list of participating venues and monuments here.
One hundred years after the birth of composer-conductor-musical giant Leonard Bernstein, revival shows and remembrance initiatives are taking place. Florence gets in on the fun with a week-plus of West Side Story, the classic musical inspired by Romeo and Juliet: filled with star-crossed love, feuds and, naturally, plenty of finger-snapping and dancing from New York’s gangsters (the Jets and Sharks) as they fight for their turf. In Federico Bellone’s adapted version, dialogue will be performed in Italian but all of the Stephen Sondheim-authored lyrics will be sung in their original English. As for the finger-snapping, expect to see all of the original choreography by Jerome Robbins, reproduced for today’s stage by Fabrizio Angelini. For more information and tickets, see www.maggiofiorentino.com.