piazza Strozzi 2, tel. 055/295051
For details and show times, see the venue websites listed.
50 Days of Cinema:
December 12, 10.30pm
Clip is a portrait of Jasna, a pretty girl in her mid-teens, disillusioned by her unglamorous life in a remote Serbian town. Opposing everyone, she experiments with sex, drugs and drinking while filming everything with her mobile phone. Winner of the International Rotterdam Film Festival: ‘The winning film is a daring and stunning debut, portraying an abandoned Serbian post-war generation. Its talented young director succeeds in constructing a brutal portrait using the pervasive and uninhibited visual language of the cell phone generation. It shows teens obsessively identifying with video clips, glorifying sex and violence and turning themselves into victims of pornofication. Though confronting, disturbing and explicit, Clip skilfully succeeds in avoiding the trap of exploitation.’ ‘Cheerless and voyeuristic, Clip (which was banned in Russia) seems a sincere attempt to portray a lost and disaffected generation. But the film’s brutally honest parade of callous behavior and casual, almost cruel sex has a depressing prurience that wears you down’ (New York Times).
December 13, 3.30pm
Branko is a young man of 25 working as a pharmacist in the suburbs of Tirana. His life is dominated by his father, Dr. Sokrat, a socially respected oncologist. Suspecting that she might be his father’s secret lover, Branko enters into a romantic relationship with one of Dr. Sokrat’s employees, Sara, a young nurse. Accidentally or not, Sara provokes tension between father and son, uncovering a silent generational conflict between the two. Pharmakon depicts Branko’s journey toward truth and maturity, in a cynical patriarchal system, based upon power hungriness, corruption and lies. Debut feature.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
December 16 and 17
‘The Hunger Games sequel that sees Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark take a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts, and President Snow plotting their downfall during preparations for the 75th Games (The Quarter Quell) that is likely to change Panem forever. Very few people will take in this spectacle of a society amusing itself to death, of “reality games” and the vapid media hysteria that surrounds them, and not draw a parallel to our own televised bread and circuses. At its best, “Catching Fire” is a blockbuster that bites the culture that made it’ (Boston Globe). ‘Pop-culture escapism can be thrilling when dished out by experts. Katniss is a character worth a handful of sequels. And [Jennifer] Lawrence lights up the screen. You’ll follow her anywhere’ (Rolling Stone). ‘What lets the movie down is its heart, or lack thereof. The reprise of the Games introduces new adversaries (and some allies) but has exactly the same dynamic as in the first movie’ (The Guardian).
After everything in her life falls to pieces, including her marriage to wealthy businessman Hal, elegant New York socialite Jasmine moves into her sister Ginger’s modest apartment in San Francisco to try to pull herself back together again. Woody Allen finally back on form. ‘After all those false dawns, non-comebacks and semi-successful Euro jeux d’esprit, Allen has produced an outstanding movie, immensely satisfying and absorbing, and set squarely on American turf’ (The Guardian). ‘Blanchett’s performance is so dominant in terms of screentime and emotional impact that the film succeeds as not only a virtuoso ensemble piece, but also an unflinchingly intimate study of the character in the title’ (Variety). ‘Allen observes Jasmine’s allure and disease without penetrating her soul. That makes for a movie that is both intimate and disinterested, as if Jasmine were a flailing insect in a barren terrarium’ (Time). ‘So relentlessly clueless about the ways real human beings live, and so eager to make the same points about human nature that Allen has made dozens of times before, that it seems like a movie beamed from another planet’ (Village Voice).
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Part 2 of the Tolkien story. Led by Thoren Oakenshield, the dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim their homeland, Erebor, from the dragon Smaug. Bilbo Baggins is in possession of a mysterious and magical ring…
Two cinematic classics are also being screened at the Odeon over the Christmas period: Annie Hallon December 23, and When Harry Met Sally on December 30. There is also a treat in store for New Year’s Eve: the 10.30pm screening of Philomena (extra showings on until January 3) will be followed by spumante and panettone to welcome in 2014.
Continue celebrating New Year’s Eve at the cinema by heading to Spazio Alfieri for a 1am screening of the documentary Searching for Sugar Man (together with pastries and cappuccino!).
SPAZIO ALFIERI Cinema
Via dell’Ulivo, 6
December 19, 9:30pm
Oliver Stone’s story of the legendary 1960s band and its charismatic lead singer Jim Morrison. ‘The Doors is a thrilling spectacle— the King Kong of rock movies—featuring a starmaking, ball-of-fire performance by Val Kilmer as Morrison’ (Rolling Stone). ‘Val Kilmer is extraordinary as Morrison, holding the centre with a demonic charisma, while Stone recreates the late ‘60s milieu with vibrant versimilitude’ (Empire). ‘This $40 million look at Jim Morrison’s short, wild ride through a rock idol life is everything one expects from the filmmaker—intense, overblown, riveting, humorless, evocative, self-important and impossible to ignore’ (Variety). ‘Maybe it was fun to bathe in decadence back then. But this is no time to wallow in that mire’ (Time).
BRITISH INSTITUTE of Florence
Lungarno Guicciardini 9
Mary and Max
December 18, 8pm
Voiced by Barry Humphries, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Toni Collette and Eric Bana. Claymation comedy-drama. Touching dark tale of the friendship between unlikely pen pals Mary, a lonely, 8-year-old girl from Melbourne, and Max, 44-year-old New Yorker with issues. ‘Shifting between a sepia Oz and a monochrome Manhattan, Elliot’s record of an unconventional friendship revels in grotesque detail and scatological humour, but yields unexpected depth and poignancy’ (Total Film). ‘Tackling such un-animation topics as loneliness, body image, alcoholism, suicide and Asperger’s syndrome, it’s quirky, compassionate and slightly seedily sweet’ (Empire). ‘Mini-masterpiece of New Globalism … rousingly gritty fable [with] poetry and caricatural wit … puts a cherry on top of the animated-year-that-was 2009’ (Village Voice).
New series starting at the British Institute in January 2014: Luchino Visconti Retrospective