The 52nd Annual International Film Festival (2013-2014), presented by the Missouri Southern State University Institute of International Studies & Film Society, will feature eleven films for the Italy Theme Semester during the fall of 2013.  Additionally, four more films from other nations will be shown in the spring of 2014.

The semester will open with My Voyage to Italy on Tuesday, August 27 and Thursday, August 29.  The film, made in the U.S. and directed by Martin Scorsese, will be shown over two nights, due to its length.

All other films during the Italy theme semester were made in Italy and will include subtitles and other translations for the English-speaking audience.

All films presented at 7 p.m., Cornell Auditorium in Plaster Hall on the campus of Missouri Southern State University.  No admission is charged.

For half a century the organization, now known as Missouri Southern Film Society, has programmed significant classic and world cinema. Program notes are distributed before each screening and participation in informal discussions is encouraged. These promote greater perception and help stimulate a critical appreciation of the films.

Since its first film in 1962, the Society has explored creative traditional and new wave movements. For the last nine years films representing a specific country have been shown as an activity during Missouri Southern’s themed-semesters. Each fall the MSSU Institute of International Studies presents films that focus on the country featured during the themed semester. The Society’s continuing offerings of films from other countries, recently restored and transferred to DVD format, are shown in the spring.

The films for the upcoming year are as follows:


Tuesday, August 27 and Thursday, August 29 My Voyage to Italy (U.S.A., 2002)

We begin our series of outstanding Italian films with acclaimed director Martin Scorsese’s deeply personal and comprehensive overview of the classic Italian films that shaped his art and his life. Scorsese focusses mainly on the innovations in Italian film from the neorealism of the post WW II years to the 1970s. There is arguably no better introduction to the world of Italian cinema. NOTE: The film will be shown over two nights, for about two hours each night.

Tuesday, Sept. 3 Rome: Open City (Roma Citta Aperta) (1946)

Director Roberto Rossellini’s depiction of the partisan Resistance struggle in German-occupied Rome as the end of WW II approached, actually filmed just after Rome was liberated by a team that included Resistance fighters, marks the beginning of the Italian neorealist movement. Labeled “Classic Rossellini…(a) powerful moviemaking gem.” (Leonard Maltin, Movie and Video Guide).

Tuesday, Sept. 10 The Bicycle Thief (Ladri di Biciclette) (1949)

This is director Vittorio De Sica’s neorealist story of a long-unemployed man who finally lands a job for which he needs a bicycle, only to have the bicycle stolen. As the man and his son search through Rome to recover the bicycle, the film sensitively reveals the deep bond of their relationship, which is forced to endure frustrating and ultimately heartbreaking challenges. “This is the most important film in the immediate postwar period, its extension of the traditional concepts of plot and dramatic structure exerted considerable influence on the development of the cinema.” (Georges Sadoul, Dictionary of Films). “The Bicycle Thief is Everyman’s search for dignity—it is as though the soul of a man had been filmed.”—Arthur Miller.

Tuesday, Sept. 17 La Strada (The Road) (1954)

Giuletta Masina and Anthony Quinn star in this widely admired and much loved early Federico Fellini film about a poor girl whose family sends her to perform on the road with Zampano, a circus Strong Man, whom she grows to love but who treats her cruelly. Winner of many awards, including Grand Prize at the Venice Film Festival and Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. “La Strada is really the complete catalog of my mythical world, a dangerous representation of my identity, undertaken without precautions…”—Federico Fellini.

Tuesday, Oct. 1 8-1/2 (Otto e Mezzo) (1963)

As his next full-length film after his groundbreaking La Dolce Vita, Federico Fellini, largely through improvising, created this autobiographical portrait of a director’s struggle to come to terms with his life, past and present, as he is pressured to produce his next film. Filled with surreal and often hauntingly beautiful images in stunning black-and white photography, and featuring Marcello Mastroianni in perhaps his greatest performance.

Tuesday, Oct. 8 Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (Ieri, Oggi, Domani) (1963)

Winner of the 1964 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, the film presents a trilogy of comedies, set in Naples, Milan and Rome, each starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni in very different, engaging, often hilarious roles, showcasing the incredible range of these actors’ and director Vittorio De Sica’s talent.

Thursday, Oct. 17 The Conformist (Il Conformista) (1970)

Bernardo Bertolucci’s compelling, haunting portrayal of a man driven to be normal at all costs, set in the milieu of Mussolini’s Fascist Italy and 1930s Paris. The film features Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli and Dominique Sanda in unforgettable performances, in a cinematic world shaped by the innovative and masterful cinematography of Vittorio Storaro and a musical score by Georges Delerue. The film contains brief nudity and sexual situations. NOTE: The Thursday date.

Tuesday Oct. 29 Cinema Paradiso (Nuovo Cinema Paradiso) (1989)

Giuseppe Tornatore’s hugely popular, Academy Award-winning film explores a man’s lifelong love of the magical, romantic world of cinema and his boyhood relationship with a projectionist, Alfredo, who leads him into that world. Of this film the late Roger Ebert wrote, “Anyone who loves movies is likely to love Cinema Paradiso.” NOTE: We will be viewing the original theatrical release rather than the 174-min restoration of 2002. The film presents sexual situations—and lots of film kisses!

Tuesday, Nov. 5 Bread and Tulips (Pane e tulipani) (2001)

An unhappy woman who is separated from her temperamental husband and teenage children when she is left behind by a tour bus heads for Venice—and a new life. According to Facets, the film is “ one of Italy’s biggest recent commercial and critical hits.” If you can’t make it to Italy, this film is a rich next-best thing! Directed by Silvio Soldini and starring Lucia Maglietta and Bruno Ganz.

Tuesday, Nov. 12 Gomorrah (2008)

Director, Matteo Garrone’s “stark and shocking” expose of the world of organized crime, centering on characters living in a Naples housing project, shows how an inescapable environment of brutal violence consumes men, women and—most tragically—children. The film contains “bursts of violence,” nudity and sexual scenes including one in a brothel/sex club.

Tuesday, Nov. 19 Habemus Papam (We Have a Pope) (2011)

Director Nanni Moretti reveals what can happen when a cardinal is chosen to be pope and suddenly discovers he may not want the job. This subtle, sensitive and surprising film shows us, as it follows the experiences of the pope-elect and the psychiatrist summoned to counsel him, in and around Vatican City. “A beautiful film,” that presents “the prospect of a single soul in crisis.”—Anthony Lane, The New Yorker.

Tuesday, Feb. 25 Camila (Argentina, 1984)

Based on an actual event, Maria Luisa Bemberg directed this story of a young socialite who elopes with a priest resulting in scandal and controversy during the De Rosas dictatorship of 19th century Argentina. Eventually they face the wrath of their families, church and government officials. Labeled as “…beautifully acted and superbly told.” (Rita Kempley, Washington Post). “One of the best Argentine pictures ever…” (Variety). “A bare outline fails to do justice to this powerful indictment of repression…” (Faber Companion to Foreign Films). It was an Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.

Tuesday, March 11 Five from Barska Street (Piatka z ulicy Barskiej) (Poland, 1954)

In this impressive and evocative drama, director Aleksander Ford offers a glimpse into life in Poland in the immediate post-WW II years. It is the story of a gang of five juvenile delinquents who are put on probation after a robbery, and find themselves torn between reforming and going back to their criminal ways. Reviews include “(Ford) was one of Poland’s leading directors (of the post-war era) … (This) was one of the first Eastern European films which attempted to depict contemporary society in its true colors.” (Mira and A. J. Liehm, Cinema: A Critical Dictionary). It was honored at the 1954 Cannes Festival.

Tuesday, March 25 The End of August at the Hotel Ozone (Konec srpna v Hotelu Ozon) (Czechoslovakia, 1967)

Compelling in its authenticity, this is director Jan Schmidt’s shattering tale of life after nuclear war. With less science fiction than stark realism, we find a group of women revert to primitive barbarity in order to survive. Described as “… a gripping, frightening, horror story of the ultimate brutalization of humanity after most of the world has blown itself up.” (Newsday).

Tuesday, April 8 Shadow (Cien) (Poland, 1956)

Director Jerzy Kawalerowicz crafted this suspenseful conspiracy thriller that presents three possible accounts of a dead man’s life and activities in a manner which recalls Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon. Though Shadow established Kawalerowicz as a leading filmmaker, it did not sit well with authorities, as all the key players are immersed in a heavy atmosphere that screams repression. It was nominated for the Golden Palm at Cannes. For more information call (417) 673-1261 or email