Shot by Carlo Di Palma, From Rome to New York, a retrospective of the late cinematographer, is coming to the Film Society of Lincoln Center from July 28 – August 3.
Among the most lauded and influential of DPs, Carlo Di Palma got his start as a camera operator for Vittorio De Sica and Gillo Pontecorvo and made his mark through collaborations with Bernardo Bertolucci, Ettore Scola, and, most crucially, Michelangelo Antonioni. Having inspired a generation of lensers with his work on such seminal sixties films as Red Desert and Blow-Up, he later forged a comparably rich partnership starting in the 1980s with Woody Allen on some of his most beloved films (Hannah and Her Sisters, Radio Days, Husbands and Wives). This series revisits an assortment of 35mm rarities and masterworks that display the cinematographic richness of Di Palma’s career.
To coincide with the retrospective, the Film Society presents the exclusive theatrical run of Water and Sugar: Carlo Di Palma, The Colours of Life, a new documentary on the cinematographer directed by Fariborz Kamkari and produced by Di Palma’s wife, Adriana Chiesa.
Organized by Dennis Lim and Dan Sullivan.
La Cineteca Nazionale; Istituto Luce Cinecittà; Adriana Chiesa Di Palma
Tickets go on sale July 13 and are $14; $11 for students and seniors (62+); and $9 for Film Society members. Become a member today! See more and save with the 3+ Film Package or $75 Carlo Di Palma All Access Pass.
FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS
All films screened at the Walter Reade Theater (165 W. 65th St.) unless otherwise noted.
Bicycle Thieves / Ladri di biciclette
Vittorio De Sica, Italy, 1948, 35mm, 89m
Installed alongside Rome Open City as the quintessential neorealist opus, Bicycle Thieves marked Vittorio De Sica’s third collaboration with scriptwriter Cesare Zavattini, and was a formative experience for Carlo Di Palma—at the time, a teenaged focus puller working under cinematographer Carlo Montuori. The film follows a struggling Roman laborer (real-life factory worker Lamberto Maggiorani) who lands an ever-elusive job, only to have the crucial instrument for that job, his bicycle, stolen. A distinct departure from the wartime backdrops that had dominated earlier neorealist works, Bicycle Thieves is an unforgettable plunge into the day-to-day world of the countless citizens struggling to survive during peacetime.
Tuesday, August 1, 9:00pm
Hannah and Her Sisters
Woody Allen, U.S., 1986, 35mm, 106m
Carlo Di Palma brought a particular, ineffable visual texture to the cinema of Woody Allen, a tangible, weathered beauty that made apartment interiors and city streets equally striking. The first film in what would become an eleven-year collaboration was this major milestone in Allen’s career, a sprawling yet minor-key chronicle of two years in the lives of three sisters (Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey, and an Oscar-winning Dianne Wiest at her neurotic best), and the men who satellite around them, including Allen as Farrow’s hypochondriac ex and Michael Caine (also an Oscar recipient here) as her philandering current husband. One of Allen’s most hilarious and heartfelt films, featuring unforgettable glimpses of eighties SoHo, a gruffly funny Max von Sydow, and a tour de force lunch scene with Di Palma’s roving camera tracking around the sisters.
Saturday, July 29, 6:00pm
Sunday, July 30, 2:00pm
Husbands and Wives
Woody Allen, U.S., 1992, 35mm, 103m
Released during the height of the acrimonious and very public breakup between Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, Husbands and Wives—which happened to take divorce as its subject matter—would prove to be an expected lightning rod of controversy. Even more striking, perhaps, was that much of the fascination, and, for some, ire directed at the film in 1992 centered on its radical look. Conceived by Allen and Carlo Di Palma with a ragged, jarring, documentary-style approach, the handheld camera ducking and swooping and barely keeping up with its harried, bitter characters, including an Oscar-nominated Judy Davis and Sydney Pollack (both brilliant) as a longtime married couple whose decision to split shakes up Allen and Farrow’s characters’ seemingly stable relationship. This remains one of Allen’s most rattling, confessional films.
Sunday, July 30, 6:30pm
Wednesday, August 2, 9:00pm
Identification of a Woman / Identificazione di una donna
Michelangelo Antonioni, Italy/France, 1982, 35mm, 130m
Italian with English subtitles
Not merely one of Antonioni’s most underrated masterworks, Identification of a Woman also ranks among the modernist maestro’s most enigmatic and personal films. When an Italian filmmaker (Tomas Milian) is left by his wife, he enters into a passionate, obsessive romance with a younger woman (Daniela Silverio). Shortly after they encounter an impenetrable fog together while en route to his country house, she vanishes without a trace. He then meets a beautiful actress (Christine Boisson), who takes an interest in the whereabouts of the missing woman… Recalling the existential mysteries of Antonioni’s L’avventura and the foreboding mise en scène of Red Desert, the more carnal Identification of a Woman is granted an enticing sharpness of feeling by John Foxx’s synth-y score and Carlo Di Palma’s typically precise camera movements. 35mm print courtesy of Cineteca Nazionale.
Saturday, July 29, 8:30pm
Tuesday, August 1, 2:00pm
Jealousy, Italian Style / Dramma della gelosia (tutti i particolari in cronaca)
Ettore Scola, Italy/Spain, 1970, 35mm, 99m
Italian with English subtitles
Also known as The Pizza Triangle, Scola’s comic tale of three-way love injected a dose of irony and modernism to the commedia all’italiana tradition. Monica Vitti stars as the fiancée to Marcello Mastroianni’s Communist construction worker, but their relationship becomes complicated with the introduction of Giancarlo Giannini’s hunky pizza chef. Following an amorous kerfuffle, the three wind up moving in together—but can these three somehow manage to make their unusual arrangement work, or will it be bickering and dramatics till death do they part? Carlo Di Palma’s affectionate camera captures a different Vitti than the one we saw in Red Desert—here, she’s both a troublemaker and the pillar holding up the roof over Mastroianni and Giannini’s heads. 35mm print from Istituto Luce Cinecittà.
Saturday, July 29, 2:00pm
Monday, July 31, 2:30pm
Woody Allen, U.S., 1987, 35mm, 88m
Like a Jewish-American, and wholly distinct, variation on Fellini’s Amarcord, Woody Allen’s exquisite work of semi-autobiography is an episodic account of the writer-director’s memories of growing up in a radio-centric culture. Split between the comfortingly drab home life of a working-class family in Rockaway, Queens, and the world of the more glamorous radio personalities (including a marvelous Mia Farrow as a ditzy cigarette girl climbing the ladder to unlikely success), which calls like a beacon from that distant, over-the-bridge place called Manhattan, Allen’s film is a beguiling study of class that manages to be both funny and moving, shot by Carlo Di Palma with an evocative, burnished nostalgia that becomes almost incantatory. Highlights include Diane Keaton crooning Cole Porter and a swoon-inducing trip to the old Radio City Music Hall.
Sunday, July 30, 8:45pm
Thursday, August 3, 4:30pm
Red Desert / Il deserto rosso
Michelangelo Antonioni, Italy/France, 1964, 35mm, 117m
Italian with English subtitles
A seminal eco-psychological nightmare, Red Desert stars Antonioni/Di Palma muse Monica Vitti as Giuliana, an industrialist’s wife who stumbles through the toxic wasteland in which she lives under the influence of an obscure, debilitating anxiety. When an old friend of her husband, Corrado (Richard Harris), comes to town on a business trip, she finds a man more sensitive to her condition, and an affair between them ensues. But Corrado can do little to slow the onset of Giuliana’s psychic collapse. Antonioni’s first color film is an audiovisual tour de force, with Carlo Di Palma’s stark images conjuring a world whose external ravages reflect and reinforce the soul-sickness of modern man.
Friday, July 28, 9:00pm
Wednesday, August 2, 6:30pm
Woody Allen, U.S., 1987, 35mm, 82m
Among the most misunderstood—and under-seen—films of Woody Allen’s career, this homage to Chekhov is a contained, moody, yet emotionally expansive chamber drama, set entirely indoors in a country house upstate (though filmed entirely at Astoria-Kaufman Studios in Queens!). The stellar cast includes Elaine Stritch as a flamboyant former movie star and controlling mother, Mia Farrow as her clinically depressed daughter, and Dianne Wiest as the well-meaning family friend visiting for the weekend, though the real star is Carlo Di Palma’s camerawork, peeking around the corners and down the narrow crevices of the film’s brilliantly claustrophobic set. A mid-film electrical blackout ranks among the most quietly atmospheric scenes of Allen’s career.
Monday, July 31, 6:30pm
Wednesday, August 2, 2:30pm
Shadows and Fog
Woody Allen, U.S., 1991, 35mm, 85m
In his ode to German expressionism, Kafka, and the music of Kurt Weill, Woody Allen makes style a delightful end in itself. A funny, unpredictable exercise in mood that allows cinematographer Carlo Di Palma to indulge in one eerily atmospheric image after another, the black-and-white Shadows and Fog lets Allen’s nebbish persona—here named Kleinman—loose in a chiaroscuro maze. Wrongly fingered as a serial killer, Kleinman finds himself on the run from a vigilante mob, his nocturnal journey intersecting with the lives of a succession of circus performers, prostitutes, and magicians. The pleasingly bizarre cast includes Madonna, John Malkovich, John Cusack, Jodie Foster, and Kathy Bates.
Friday, July 28, 4:30pm
Monday, July 31, 8:30pm
Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man / La tragedia di un uomo ridicolo
Bernardo Bertolucci, Italy, 1981, 35mm, 116m
Italian with English subtitles
Bernardo Bertolucci followed up his controversial ’70s films (Last Tango in Paris, 1900, and La Luna) with this farcical Parma-set drama, in which a desperate Ugo Tognazzi schemes to save his nearly bankrupt cheese factory by reinvesting money intended to cover the ransom on his son, who has been kidnapped by terrorists. Anouk Aimée co-stars as Tognazzi’s noble French wife, who exudes self-assurance despite being in the dark about what’s going on between her husband’s machinations and the truth concerning her son’s predicament. Carlo Di Palma and Bertolucci render the sprawling, autumnal landscapes of Parma as a striking backdrop against which the film’s enthralling political, criminal, and familial dynamics unfold. 35mm print from Istituto Luce Cinecittà.
Tuesday, August 1, 6:30pm
Water and Sugar: Carlo Di Palma, the Colors of Life / Acqua e zucchero: Carlo Di Palma, i colori della vita
Fariborz Kamkari, Italy, 2016, 90m
English, Italian, French, and Russian with English subtitles
Fariborz Kamkari’s documentary about the life and career of Carlo Di Palma is as much a portrait of the late cinematographer—known for his inventive work with such directors as Woody Allen, Michelangelo Antonioni and Elio Petri—as it is a journey through the last 70 years of world cinema. From Di Palma’s early credits under Luchino Visconti, Vittorio De Sica, and Roberto Rossellini, to his trailblazing work on Red Desert and Blow-Up, to his 11-year collaboration with Woody Allen, Water and Sugar amounts to an illuminating celebration of a great artist. Featuring reflections and commentary by iconic filmmakers including Woody Allen, Bernardo Bertolucci, Ken Loach, Volker Schlöndorff, Wim Wenders, and more.
Friday, July 28, 2:30pm & 6:30pm
Saturday, July 29, 4:00pm
Sunday, July 30 through Wednesday, August 2, 4:30pm
Thursday, August 3, 2:30pm