Filmmaker in Focus: Ferzan Ozpetek
December 4–14, 2008
One of the most successful and award-winning contemporary Italian filmmakers, Ferzan Ozpetek (b. 1959, Istanbul) creates films that display a unique thematic focus while remaining ambitious in scope and richly rewarding in their technical achievement. Effortlessly elegant, his aesthetic rarely calls attention to itself; his films masterfully illuminate various strains of society and strands of storytelling, and his actors shine in beautifully written, multifaceted parts that embrace an unforced multiculturalism. Ozpetek's films are often rooted in the tradition of the sophisticated melodramas of the 1950s, pivoting around seemingly ordinary and content people whose lives become unmoored—often by a sudden death—leading to the discovery of previously unacknowledged passions and possibilities.
The filmmaker's signature tracking camera stunningly unites disparate time periods (as in Facing Windows and Harem) and distant locales (Italy and Turkey), and creates a visual connection between Ozpetek's central characters and the extended families they discover, whether in close friendships (Saturn in Opposition), in communal living (His Secret Life), or in caring for those in need (Sacred Heart, Facing Windows). His is a humanistic cinema in which the kindness of strangers is the most readily available because—as the Sister Sledge song puts it—"We are family."
Organized by Jytte Jensen, Curator, the Department of Film, and Camilla Cormanni and Paola Ruggiero, Cinecittà Holding, Rome. The exhibition features new prints courtesy of Cinecittà Holding. Grateful thanks to the producers and distributors: Domenico Procacci of Fandango, RAI Cinema, Medusa Film, Mikado Film, Gianluca Curti of Minerva Pictures, Tilde Corsi and Gianni Romoli of R&C Production, Sony Pictures Classics, and Strand Releasing. The series is made possible thanks to the support of the Italian Ministry of Culture, Cinema Department, in collaboration with The Italian Cultural Institute, New York, the Moon and Stars Project, The American Turkish Society, and Peuterey. Additional thanks to the Italian Consulate, New York, Moleskine, Laura Delli Colli, Antonio Monda, Mondadori, Moira Mazzantini, Lula Sarchioni, Emanuela Di Suni, Gioia Donati, and Gianni Giansanti for their kind collaboration.
Le fate ignoranti (His Secret Life). 2001. Italy. Screenplay by Ferzan Ozpetek, Gianni Romoli
His Secret Life. 2001. Italy. Directed by Ferzan Ozpetek
Le fate ignoranti (His Secret Life). 2001. Italy. Directed by Ferzan Ozpetek. Screenplay by Ferzan Ozpetek, Gianni Romoli. With Margherita Buy, Stefano Accorsi, Serra Yilmaz. When Antonia's husband is suddenly killed in a car accident, she discovers that he led a second life. Obsessed with her husband's secrets, she finds his other lover and their circle of friends, and becomes intrigued with their rooftop "commune." The messy, quarrelsome, compassionate, colorful, and fun characters from her husband's parallel life challenge her well-ordered existence and fixed worldview. In Italian; English subtitles. 105 min.
Thursday, December 4, 2008, 7:00 p.m., Theater 1, T1 (Introduced by Ozpetek and Stefano Accorsi)
Friday, December 12, 2008, 9:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2
Un giorno perfetto (A Perfect Day). 2008. Italy. Directed by Ferzan Ozpetek. With Isabella Ferrari, Valerio Mastandrea, Stefania Sandrelli. Ozpetek's latest film is based—uncharacteristically for the director—on a popular novel. In this multifaceted narrative encompassing domestic violence, political corruption, youthful rebellion, and class differences in a modern city, a day of events and encounters leads to an irrevocably pitch-dark end (the film's title is highly ironic). The ferocious—mostly wordless—climactic scenes are filmed in extreme close-up, brilliantly capturing the actors' exceptional performances. In Italian; English subtitles. 101 min.
Friday, December 5, 2008, 6:00 p.m., Theater 1, T1 (U.S. premiere. Introduced by Ozpetek, actress Isabella Ferrari, and Laura Delli Colli, author of Ferzan Ozpetek: Eyes Wide Open. Followed by a Q&A with Ozpetek and Ferrari)
Saturday, December 13, 2008, 4:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2 (U.S. premiere)
La finestra di fronte (Facing Windows). 2003. Italy. Screenplay by Ferzan Ozpetek, Gianni Romoli
Facing Windows. 2003. Italy. Directed by Ferzan Ozpetek
La finestra di fronte (Facing Windows). 2003. Italy. Directed by Ferzan Ozpetek. Screenplay by Ferzan Ozpetek, Gianni Romoli. With Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Massimo Girotti, Raoul Bova. This beautifully constructed tale links a pair of Roman love stories: one set in the 1940s, the other among the newly constructed buildings on the outskirts of modern-day Rome. Giovanna and her husband take in an old man suffering from temporary amnesia who is obsessed with memories from the autumn of 1943. The man's story of forbidden love parallels Giovanna's unhappiness in her marriage and her obsession with the handsome stranger that she spies on from across the street. In Italian; English subtitles. 106 min.
Friday, December 5, 2008, 8:15 p.m., Theater 1, T1 (Introduced by Ozpetek and Laura Delli Colli, author of Ferzan Ozpetek: Eyes Wide Open. Followed by a Q&A with Ozpetek)
Sunday, December 14, 2008, 1:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2
Il bagno turco/Hamam (Steam: The Turkish Bath). 1997. Italy/ Turkey/Spain. Screenplay by Ferzan Ozpetek
Steam: The Turkish Bath. 1997. Italy/Turkey/Spain. Directed by Ferzan Ozpetek
Il bagno turco/Hamam (Steam: The Turkish Bath). 1997. Italy/Turkey/Spain. Directed by Ferzan Ozpetek. Screenplay by Ferzan Ozpetek. With Alessandro Gassman, Francesca d'Aloja, Carlo Cecchi. When Francesco's aunt dies in Istanbul, he leaves his wife in charge of their small design company in Rome and travels to Turkey to sell his inheritance—a traditional hamam (Turkish bath). Smitten with the hamam and the family that runs it, Francesco soon decides to remain in Turkey. When his wife arrives to deliver important news, she discovers a different Francesco. Handled with delicate care and great insight into the slow burn of buried passions, Ozpetek's first feature is a compassionate visual exploration of cultural and sexual barriers. In Italian, Turkish; English subtitles. 94 min.
Saturday, December 6, 2008, 3:00 p.m., Theater 1, T1
Sunday, December 14, 2008, 3:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2
Cuore Sacro (Sacred Heart). 2005. Italy. Screenplay by Ferzan Ozpetek, Gianni Romoli
Sacred Heart. 2005. Italy. Directed by Ferzan Ozpetek
Cuore Sacro (Sacred Heart). 2005. Italy. Directed by Ferzan Ozpetek. Screenplay by Ferzan Ozpetek, Gianni Romoli. With Barbora Bobulova, Andrea Di Stefano, Lisa Gastoni. Irene, a successful property developer with few personal connections, is thrown into turmoil when she begins restorations on her inheritance, the former residence of the mother she barely knew. As visits to her mother's old room and encounters with a persistent street kid start to get under her skin, her well-ordered world begins to show cracks. Bobulova's excellent performance as the steel-hearted heiress who gives fate a chance brings a complex psychological portrait to vivid life. In Italian; English subtitles. 116 min.
Saturday, December 6, 2008, 5:00 p.m., Theater 1, T1
Friday, December 12, 2008, 4:30 p.m., Theater 2, T2
Harem suaré (Harem). 1999. Italy/France/Turkey. Directed by Ferzan Ozpetek. Screenplay by Ferzan Ozpetek, Gianni Romoli. With Marie Gillain, Alex Descas, Valeria Golino. Safiye, the favorite concubine of the last sultan of the Ottoman Empire, falls in love with a black eunuch and is left behind to fight for the rights of the harem when the deposed sultan escapes to Europe. The complex narrative structure of this sumptuous story within a story mirrors traditional Oriental oral storytelling, and the opulent sets and costumes are shot with exceptional style and beauty. In Turkish, Italian; English subtitles. 105 min.
Sunday, December 7, 2008, 3:00 p.m., Theater 1, T1
Thursday, December 11, 2008, 6:00 p.m., Theater 2, T2
Saturno Contro (Saturn in Opposition). 2007. Italy. Screenplay by Ferzan Ozpetek, Gianni Romoli
Saturn in Opposition. 2007. Italy. Directed by Ferzan Ozpetek
Saturno Contro (Saturn in Opposition). 2007. Italy. Directed by Ferzan Ozpetek. Screenplay by Ferzan Ozpetek, Gianni Romoli. With Pierfrancesco Favino, Margherita Buy, Stefano Accorsi. Characteristic of Ozpetek's sophisticated approach to modern society and the complex ties that bind, Saturn in Opposition portrays a large, diverse circle of intimate friends centering around a gay couple, Davide and Lorenzo. When a tragedy brings them all together, the friends struggle to find solidarity beyond their selfish, everyday preoccupations. The warmth and depth of their multiple emotional bonds is confidently orchestrated and expressively choreographed by Ozpetek and his ace ensemble cast. In Italian; English subtitles. 113 min.
Sunday, December 7, 2008, 5:00 p.m., Theater 1, T1
Wednesday, December 10, 2008, 8:30 p.m., Theater 2, T2