Since 2001, the first summer breezes of June have brought a fresh crop of new Italian films and filmmakers to Lincoln Center. Open Roads: New Italian Cinema has become the leading North American showcase for contemporary Italian cinema as well as one of our most popular programs. Established filmmakers such as Ermanno Olmi (featured again this year), Mario Monicelli and Pupi Avati have premiered new works here alongside those of emerging filmmakers such as Matteo Garrone, Ferzan Ozpetek (also featured in this year’s program), Paolo Sorrentino and Susanna Nichiarelli. A new generation of actors—Margherita Buy, Sergio Castellitto, Toni Servillo, Donatella Finocchiaro—were discovered and embraced by our audiences at Open Roads.

When the series first began, there was an excitement about a kind of “new regionalism,” for which Italian filmmakers were heading to diverse parts of the country—Apulia, Bari, Friuli—that had rarely appeared on screen; some of these films were even shot in the local dialects, forcing audiences to reads subtitles when they were released outside of their areas of production. While that penchant for regionalism can be seen in this year’s selection in films such as Terraferma, Horses and Annalisa, other tendencies are also in evidence. The Italian cinema is perhaps the quintessential social cinema, with films regularly taking on even the most divisive issues; many of the films included this year—even comedies such as A Flat for Three and Escort in Love—offer their own perspectives on contemporary Italy. Another development is the return of genre cinema, whether in the wildly innovative The Legend of Kaspar Hauser or the quietly haunting The Arrival of Wang. Today’s young Italian filmmakers are embracing classic storytelling modes and formulas and breathing new life into them.

So join us once again in welcoming back an old friend: Italian cinema!

On occasion of this year’s London Olympic games, select screenings in Open Roads will be preceded by clips from the Instituto Luce Archive from the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic games to the 1960 Olympic games in Rome. The research and production of these clips was curated by Erika Allegrucci.

Open Roads: New Italian Cinema has been organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center together with Istituto Luce-Cinecittà – Filmitalia and the support of Ministero per i Beni e le Attivitá Culturali (Direzione Generale per il Cinema) in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute of New York. Special thanks to the Alexander Bodini Foundation, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimó and Antonio Monda for their generous support.