UNDERFIRE: THE UNTOLD STORY OF PFC. TONY VACCARO

DIRECTED BY MAX LEWKOWICZ

  • Engrossing, unexpectedly moving…
  • Tony Vaccaro’s life was forged by pain and courage. Passion saved his life and enriched ours.
    Tim Van Patten, director Game of Thrones, The Sopranos
  • No one got closer than an infantryman in war, and no one got closer than Tony.
    Alex Kershaw, Historian and New York Times best-selling author, “The Liberator”

In 1943, with the Allied invasion of Europe imminent, a newly drafted 21-year old Tony Vaccaro applied to the U.S. Army Signal Corps. He had developed a passion for photography and knew he wanted to photograph the war. “They said I was too young to do this,” Tony says, holding his finger as if taking a photo, “but not too young to do this,” turning his finger forward, pulling a gun trigger. Not one to be denied, Tony went out and purchased a $47.00 Argus C3, and carried the camera into the war with him. He would fight with the 83rd Infantry Division for the next 272 days, playing two roles – a combat infantryman on the front lines and a photographer who would take roughly 8,000 photographs of the war.

In the decades that followed the war, Tony would go on to become a renowned commercial photographer for magazines such as LookLife, and Flair, but it is his collection of war photos, images that capture the rarely seen day-to-day reality of life as a soldier, that is his true legacy. Tony kept these photos locked away for decades in an effort to put the war behind him, and it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that this extraordinary body of work was first discovered and celebrated in Europe. In the United States, however, Tony has yet to receive his due and few people have heard of him.

Our film tells the story of how Tony survived the war, fighting the enemy while also documenting his experience at great risk, developing his photos in combat helmets at night and hanging the negatives from tree branches. The film also encompasses a wide range of contemporary issues regarding combat photography such as the ethical challenges of witnessing and recording conflict, the ways in which combat photography helps to define how wars are perceived by the public, and the sheer difficulty of staying alive while taking photos in a war zone.

Though the narrative spine of the film is a physical journey in which Tony brings us to the places in Europe where many of his most powerful photos were taken, over the course of the film we also trace Tony’s emotional journey from a young GI eager to record the war to an elderly man who, at 93, has become a pacifist, increasingly horrified at man’s ability to wage war. Tony believed fiercely that the Allied forces in WWII were engaged in a just war, but he vowed never to take another war photo the day the war ended, and he didn’t.

In addition to numerous interviews with Tony, the film includes interviews with a number of other people, including Tyler Hicks, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer for the New York Times; Lynsey Addario, a Pulitzer Prize-winner who has covered conflict for 30 years for the New York Times, Time, National Geographic, and other major publications; Anne Wilkes Tucker, a photography curator and curator of the comprehensive exhibition WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY; James Estrin, a Senior Photographer for the New York Times and editor of the Times’ Lens blog; and John G. Morris, who was the photo editor of Life Magazine during World War II and was Robert Capa’s editor.

“Tony Vaccaro in ABQ” In The Press

© 2017 CARGO FILM & RELEASING

 

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Palermo, Italian Capital of Culture 2018

Palermo Italian capital of culture 2018 but heart of the Mediterranean sea as well.

Today more than ever, its position makes it unique and irreplaceable, a real cultural melting pot for the whole of Europe with a look at the world.

To this important national event will be added, from 16th of June to 4th of November 2018, the artistic event MANIFESTA12, one of the main contemporary art Biennials on a world scale.

Manifesta is a nomadic Biennial born in the 90s, in Holland, to facilitate the integration and dialogue between art and society in Europe.

Palermo is the second Italian place, after the 2008 edition in Trentino (Manifesta7), selected for two topics that symbolize the current European situation: migration and climatic conditions.

The Sicilian capital will have the opportunity to show its local soul and its attitude to international dialogue, becoming an ideal laboratory to imagine new ways of experiencing cities between art and culture.

Among the many places that will host the events of Palermo 2018 there are: the Teatro Massimo, Palazzo Sant’Elia, the cultural sites of Zisa, the Loggiato San Bartolomeo, the Complex of Spasimo, Palazzo Branciforti, the Complex of Sant’Anna alla Misericordia , the Museo Civico di Castelbuono and many others.

In the headquarters of the Garibaldi Theater, assigned to Manifesta12, it will be possible to discover the events scheduled for: Waiting for Manifesta12; a series of activities that will serve to better understand the event that will be inaugurated on June 16th.

4 thematic poles were also identified, the City Theater Complex (which includes, among others, the Montevergini, the Garibaldi, the Sala De Seta, the Spasimo), the Exhibition Center (GAM, Palazzo Ziino, ZAC, Ecomuseo del Mare), the Archival-Library Campus (Municipal Library, Historical Archive) and the Ethno-Anthropological Pole (Museo Pitrè, Palazzo Tarallo), with a project based on a strong collaboration between public and private, on strengthening the synergy with the cultural association of the city ​​and on the collaboration between institutions (Municipality, Academy, Conservatory).

Palermo has always been a cultural melting pot, an expression of European cultures in dialogue with the Arab world, “place of cultural interfaces” as stated in the application file.

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In Italy, #MeToo Falters Amid Public Scorn

A woman takes part in a demonstration to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in Rome in November.

Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

In the months since allegations of sexual harassment by major media figures took center stage in the United States, the #MeToo movement has had a ripple effect in Europe, prompting national conversations on a once-taboo topic. In some countries, the movement has been embraced.

But in Italy, the public has largely reacted with scorn and skepticism.

One of the first women to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault was Italian actress Asia Argento.

Hailed in the U.S. for speaking out, she was attacked in her native country by commentators, both male and female.

Vittorio Feltri, editor of Italy’s right-wing daily Libero, told a radio host it was hard for him to believe Argento’s allegations of rape.

“First, these women give it away,” he said. “Then, 20 years later, they repent and denounce the alleged rapist.

“And if they gave it away in exchange for a part in a movie,” he added, “that’s a form of prostitution.”

Interviewed on Italian TV from Berlin, Argento angrily denounced — as she put it — being “slut-shamed” by the media and said she left Italy because the atmosphere was too hostile.

Italian actress Asia Argento, at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2017, was one of the first to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse but has found little support in her own country.

Arthur Mola/Invision/AP

In November, the Italian TV show Le Iene reported that 10 women accused film director Fausto Brizzi of molesting them. Two days later, Warner Bros. suspended all future work with the director and pulled Brizzi’s name from his about-to-be-released movie.

That triggered a backlash, says Rome-based screenwriter Francesca Marciano, turning the alleged molester into the victim. Brizzi denied the allegations, and media coverage was mostly in support of the director.

“The press is not giving voice to the women,” says Marciano. “It’s just giving voice to the men and the men who defend the men and the women who defend the men. The culture of support for women is nonexistent.”

Since the allegations against Brizzi were made public, no major figure in Italy’s media, business or political world has been publicly denounced for sexual harassment.

Twenty-five-year-old Arianna Pavoncello believes that is because in Italy, “there is always this thought of the female who provokes, and so boys will be boys.”

Pavoncello, who studied at an American college in Rome, says her grandparents’ and parents’ generations believe that man is a hunter and women his prey.

“It’s mostly the older generations [that] think, ‘What’s the matter with a man touching your butt?’ ” she says, “or, you know, ‘it has always happened and it will continue to happen, and it’s just fine.’ ”

Feminist author Lorella Zanardo says Italians’ double standard has roots in centuries of Catholic education.

“Either you are a good wife, a sort of saint,” she says. Or “you behave very freely and you are considered not a very serious girl, let’s say.”

Zanardo also blames media tycoon and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose lowbrow commercial TV networks have helped shape Italian society for three decades.

As prime minister, Berlusconi popularized so-called “bunga-bunga” parties — bacchanals with minors and prostitutes — while his TV empire showcased women as desirable objects, dancing provocatively, never uttering a single word.

“All these images have really created a culture where it was accepted that a woman is used as a decoration,” says Zanardo.

Italian conservatives are not alone in attacking the #MeToo movement. Many leftist intellectuals are convinced that it threatens sexual freedom.

Author Chiara Barzini says this leftist view reflects snobbery against America, a society many Italians see as puritanical and having a take-no-prisoners mindset.

“There is no compromising,” she explains, “and Italians love to live in the gray zones of life, you know.”

Those gray zones — of hypocrisy, fatalism and cynicism — are now being shaken by a younger generation of Italian women, says 24-year-old Bianca Rondolino, who works at an online platform aimed at millennial women.

“We didn’t have a Twitter storm of hashtags ‘MeToo,’ but I know the whole country had a lot of private conversations on this topic,” says Rondolino. “It was a painful process, but I am also very aware that it is bringing actual change.”

Rondolino says men her age are more respectful of women than their fathers or older brothers are. But she acknowledges it will take time to change a patriarchal culture that belittles women — and far too often, pits them against one another.

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Watch Violinist Play Private Concert For Street Cats in Enchanting Italian Short Film

An Italian musician has created a purrrr-fect tale of what city cats do after hours – and it doesn’t have anything to do with chasing mice.

In a short film published by Grammy award-winning musician Augustin Hadelich, an alley cat persuades a mysterious violinist to give him and the other stray felines a private concert.

The violinist delves into “Caprice No. 17” by Nicolò Paganini – a delightful musical number that spurs the local tomcats into an amusing dance number rife with romance and rumpus.

When the violinist finishes with the concerto, he wanders off into the night, leaving the cats in wonder of his secrets.

The short film, which is called Fantasia dei Gatti in Italian, is a mesmerizing promotion of Hadelich’s latest album in which he performs Paganini’s 24 Caprices.

(WATCH the video below)

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Gina Lollobrigida and Monica Bellucci in L.A.

NICOLE CAMPISANO (January 17, 2018)
Starting from Jan. 31st, the iconic Italian actresses will be honored during the 3-day Filming on Italy festival sponsored by the Agnus Dei Production of Tiziana Rocca and the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles.

Gina Lollobrigida and Monica Bellucci, two of the most famous international Italian stars are being recognized for their talent, passion, and contributions to the film industry at the Filming on Italy festival. This 3-day event that celebrates Italian excellence was organized by Tiziana Rocca’s Agnus Dei, and Valeria Rumori, Director of the Italian Institute of Culture Los Angeles, under the auspices of the Consulate General of Italy in Los Angeles and with the support of the Cinema Direction of MiBACT, the Italian Trade Agency Los Angeles, and ANICA.

Italian Icons

Filming on Italy’s mission is to promote the Italian territory as a cinematic set. The event is hosted at one of the temples of Italian cultures in LA, The Italian Cultural Institute, that every year awards the Italian excellencies of cinema with the IIC Los Angeles Creativity Award. It is no surprise that this year’s recipients of this award are one of the two most iconic Italian actresses, recognized worldwide. As the General Director of Filming on Italy Tiziana Rocca explains, “We are delighted to celebrate and honor Monica Bellucci and Gina Lollobrigida’s careers, two truly international artists. Here in the US, Monica has worked with so many great directors and actors, playing several roles and we can say that she is one of the few Italian actresses capable to act in many languages” and “a personality like Gina Lollobrigida represents better than anyone else Italy’s culture and cinema. Her career illustrates how beauty and talent together are both creative and emotional.”

Gina Lollobrigida embodies the history of Italian cinema. She was one of the first Italian actresses that had the chance to work in Hollywood achieving a super star status. Her acting career started in 1946, and by the 50s and through the 60s, she was a huge international star.  Some of her most memorable roles are as Esmeralda in the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and as Lisa Helena Fellini in Come September for which she was awarded the Golden Globe Henrietta Award for World Film Favorite – Female.  Lollobrigida is also known for being a philanthropist.  She is a supporter of Italian American causes, and was even given the NIAF Lifetime achievement award at the National Italian American Foundation’s annual gala in 2008. A wholesome artist, “La Lollo”, as she is affectionately called in Italy, is also a prolific potogrpaher and sculptor.

Monica Bellucci started her career as a model, and later became a popular actress in Italy and France, and not too long after she began to reach audiences at an international level. She is well known for her performances in The Matrix Reloaded as Persephone, and the Italian drama, Malèna, directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, the winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for Cinema Paradiso. She also appered in the Mel Gibson’s kolossal, The Passion of the Christ, as Maria Maddalena.

A Celebration of Italian Stars, Films and Territory

This year marks the second edition of the Filming on Italy event and it will be featuring US premieres of new Italian documentaries and films as well as awarding the two Italian stars.

In regards to Monica Bellucci, on January 31st, Filming on Italy will be featuring the US premiere of the Serbian love story, On the Milky Road.  Bellucci stars in the film that was directed by Emir Kusturica.

Gina Lollobrigida will be in attendance on February 1st as she is receiving the IIC Los Angeles Creativity Award from the Cultural Institute.  To pay tribute to Lollobrigida’s iconic work, there will also be a day dedicated to her with the screening of some of her films, and an event that will be moderated by Claudio Masenza, the Artistic Director of Filming on Italy.

The Filming on Italy festival will be held from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 in Los Angeles. For more info click here>>

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The Hallucinatory Realism of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film The Gospel According to St Matthew

Pasolini creates a deceptive effect of immediacy, of witnessing actual events as they unfold.

Pier Paolo Pasolini, portrait by Italian artist Graziano Origa, pen & pink, 1976
Neo-Realist poet, writer and film director Pier Paolo Pasolini made his startling film The Gospel According to St Matthew (IIl Vangelo Secondo Matteo) in 1964 when he already had a reputation for producing controversial work. A decade later he would make his notorious critique of fascism – Salo or 120 Days of Sodom – banned in many countries for its graphic depictions of sadistic sexual abuse. The Gospel, however, is restrained in its use of violence, despite the ripe opportunity for gore offered by Jesus’s death, most fully exploited so far in Mel Gibson’s 2004 The Passion of the Christ.
Although a radical Marxist throughout his adult life, Pasolini’s childhood was steeped in the Roman Catholic Church and he insisted that his film would not be an attack on Christianity, but a devotional work that he wanted screened in parish churches throughout Italy at Easter time – an idea that had the more conservative priests spluttering into their cappuccinos and reaching for the garlic.

Pasolini’s hallucinatory realism in this film creates an effect of immediacy, of the witnessing of actual events as they unfold through documentary-style techniques like the use of a hand-held camera, which is hauntingly effective when it records the grief of Christ’s mother at the crucifixion – a part played, incidentally, by Pasolini’s own much-adored mother. Iconic scenes are approached from casual, apparently accidental angles: the nativity scene is shot from several feet above, looking down on the holy family, and the interrogation of Jesus is half-obscured by the heads of the onlookers. We, as the viewer, become implicated as one of the crowd straining to see his humiliation. The rough, threadbare clothes of the people, the heavy, unwinged, unhaloed angel Gabriel, and the bleak landscape shot in subdued monochrome are in stark contrast to the white shining robes and golden light that are staples of the 1950s’ biblical epics.

This film, then, appears to replay the sixteenth-century Reformation’s project of stripping religious representations of all their artifice and show, of their sensuous surfaces, their gold-leaf haloes, their glut of angels, their reveling in Christ’s agony, and returning them to an austere, muted reality. The Reformists feared that the people had become so dazzled by the beauty, and beautiful violence, of these images that they had come to fetishize them, to see them not as representations of God, but as mini-gods to be worshipped in their own right.
Their solution was to order a spree of destruction, with the torching and defacing of religious paintings and icons throughout Northern Europe.


But it is this very immediacy – this ‘realism’ – in Pasolini’s film that leads to a sensory deception that is also in danger of, ironically, being a form of fetishization: Pasolini wrote how he was determined to use ‘no screenplay’ but only dialogue that is ‘strictly that of St Matthew,’ but this causes him to border on fetishizing Matthew’s gospel, so that Matthew’s account of an event displaces the event (Jesus’s life) itself; it submerges it.The risk of this happening – of a text being mistaken for the thing itself – is ingeniously avoided in the New Testament by the use of four witness accounts, the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, offering diverging perspectives, so there is a distance between these fragmentary texts and the thing they describe, which remains beyond them, elusive, something that the texts can only point towards.

The implicit promise offered to the faithful in Corinthians 13 is that this distance will be dissolved at the time of the apocalypse, but not before. “Now we see through a glass darkly, but then, face to face.” A classic case of dangling the promise of jam tomorrow, but the intense realism Pasolini’s film creates, at least in the hallucinatory moment of watching it, is the fiction for the viewer that the distance between them and Christ has collapsed: that he is on the cusp of stepping through that darkened glass. It is an extraordinary sensation.

The Gospel According to Saint Matthew (Italian: Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo). Dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini. Titanus Distribuzione S.p.a, 1964. Running Time: 133 min.

Copyright Catherine Rosario
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Give Your Valentine a Venetian Experience This Year – Carnevale Masquerade Ball

Ciao St Louis’ First Annual Carnevale Masquerade Ball!

February 10, 2018

This is a formal event; black tie optional. Masquerade masks in the style of Venice’s Carnevale not required, but strongly encouraged!

Time: 6:30 PM – 11:30 PM
Place: River City Casino Grand Ballroom
Price: $100 per person  Tables of 8 or 10 are available.

Event includes:
Cocktail hour and appetizers
Four Venetian Dining Stations
Premium Open Bar

The night kicks off with a special performance in a typical Venetian style;  followed by Music and Dancing, along with other surprises throughout the evening.
Be sure to register for the Best Mask Contest that evening for a chance to win a prize.

We are looking forward to a beautiful evening, with great music, great food and great company! If you have any questions or need additional information, feel free to contact us!

Sincerely,

Laura DiMaggio.
Ciao St Louis Event Chairperson
Email: lauraadimaggio@gmail.com

or

Marianna Vitale
Ciao St Louis Event Co-Chair
Email: mavitale61@aol.com

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