Virtual Cinema | Spotlight on an Italian Duo October 21, 2020
Next up in Virtual Cinema: The spotlight shines on contemporary Italian cinema. The comedic charmer Citizens of the World embraces the premise that it’s never too late to change your life. Martin Eden, adapted from a novel by Jack London, follows the story of an aspiring writer over many years.
► Citizens of the World
In Rome, three retirees in their 70s live on limited pensions. Acknowledging a shared restlessness, the men devise a plan to leave Italy, hoping to find “the good life” abroad. They set about deciding where to go, advised by a worldly professor. Considerations impacting their choice of destination include climate, economy, and democracy—not to mention the proximity of poisonous jellyfish and the price of beer.
The trio scrambles to raise funds for their “cash float” while saying their goodbyes to friends and family. Adding a timely perspective to the plot is a young refugee from Mali who lives on the streets in Rome and aspires to join his brother in Canada.
► Martin Eden
Luca Marinelli is riveting in the title role of Martin Eden. A sailor who falls in love with the wealthy and well-educated Elena, Martin finds himself caught between dreams of rising above his humble origins to become a writer, his love for the woman he hopes to marry, and a political awakening that leads to conflict with her bourgeois family.
Jack London’s 1909 novel Martin Eden is set in California, and award-winning filmmaker Pietro Marcello moves the setting to an Italian port city at a provocatively unspecified time. The result is a gorgeous epic, full of passionate characters and absorbing narratives. This truly memorable film has drawn comparisons to the work of great Italian directors Roberto Rossellini and Luchino Visconti.
Underwriting for the Film Department is provided by Tenaris and the Vaughn Foundation. Generous funding is provided by Nina and Michael Zilkha; The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea; Franci Neely; Carrin Patman and Jim Derrick; Lynn S. Wyatt; ILEX Foundation; L’Alliance Française de Houston; and The Foundation for Independent Media Arts.