When Sophia Loren received a lifetime achievement award from the Rome Film Festival last month, it was the first career honor she'd ever received in her home country. It's difficult to believe, considering she's symbolized Italian sultriness and sexiness to moviegoers around the world for decades. A successor to Loren has yet to emerge, but this year's New Italian Cinema series offers some intriguing candidates. In the opening night film, Our Country (A Casa Nostra), blond bombshell Laura Chiatti plays a model and kept woman who inadvertently ignites a chain of life-changing events when she cheats on her lover, a powerful older businessman. Chiara Mastroianni, the Parisian-born love child of Marcello Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve, plays a daughter torn between romance and familial obligations in My Father's Words (Le Parole de Mio Padre). (Both films are directed by Francesca Comencini, who is saluted with a mini-retrospective.) The sublime Laura Morante carries The Ball as a single mom with an embarrassing (to her young son, that is) career as a chanteuse. Morante just turned 51, so she's hardly an unknown starlet, but she has a lot of great years left. Just ask Loren, still lighting up the screen at 73.
Nov. 11-18, 2007