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Articles by: Christina Boalt

  • Art & Culture

    Italy Chose "Non Essere Cattivo" for Oscar Candidate

    Non Essere Cattivo (Don't be Bad) had some serious competition this award season in the fight for the chance to represent Italy at the Academy Awards Ceremony early next year. The film was chosen from the list of nine films that were screened and available to the public between October 2014 to September 2015. The Italian National Association of Film, Audiovisual, and Multimedia Industries (ANICA) made the decision at the end of September.

    The nine films that were submitted: Sangue del Mio Sangue (Blood of My Blood), directed by Marco Bellocchio; Il Giovane Favoloso (Leopardi), directed by Mario Martone; Latin Lover, directed by Cristina Comencini; L’Attesa (The Wait), directed by Piero Messina; Mia Madre (My Mother), directed by Nanni Moretti; Nessuno Si Salva da Solo (You Can’t Save Yourself Alone), directed by Sergio Castellitto; Non Essere Cattivo ( Don’t Be Bad), directed by Claudio Caligari; Vergine Giurata (Sworn Virgin), directed by Laura Bispuri; Per Amor Vostro (For Your Love), directed by Giuseppe M. Gaudino.

    The winner, Non Essere Cattivo, is set in the 1990’s and looks at dark lifestyles involving drugs, crime, and money in the small neighborhood of Ostia, just outside of Rome. This story follows two best friends Vittorio and Cesare, played by Alessandro Borghi and Luca Marinelli, respectively, as the two become distanced for a time, and struggle towards coming back together again.

    The Italian crime movie was released on September 8 of this year, but did not actually fair too
    well in the box office. Having only earned just under $300,000 in three weeks, the film was surely not as successful as some of the candidates it was against, which were highly acclaimed at movie festivals throughout Italy this year, but nonetheless it is Italy’s candidate.

    Since 1929, at the inception of the Best Foreign Language Film award, Italy has been nominated a total of twenty-eight times, and has taken home fourteen Oscars since. The last Italian film to win was in 2013 for La Grande Bellezza, or The Great Beautiful, directed by Paolo Sorrentino. Sorrentino produced a new movie this year, but the use of English left the film ineligible for the award.

    Due to the fact that Non Essere Cattivo had not previously been available to the United States, while some of the other candidates had, the committee found it preferable to choose this film other the others. Now that it was has been chosen, the film was shown to its first American audience last week at an Italian styled film festival.

    Eleven films were shown, including Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth, his English-speaking movie. Don’t Be Bad producer Valerio Mastandrea was anxious to hear critiques and viewpoints from the American public, in hopes of improving his filmmaking in the future.

    Unfortunately, for Don’t Be Bad, the film’s director Claudio Caligari passed away in May of this year, and was not able to see his final piece of work reach such acclaim. In his forty-year film career, Caligari produced such films as Amore Tossico and L’odore Della Notte.

    Final Oscar nominees will be determined on January 14, 2016. All candidates from around the world will be deliberated and cut down to a list of nine films that will then be dwindled down again to the final five by a separate committee. The 88th Academy Awards will be held on February 28, 2016.

  • Art & Culture

    Modigliani Scores Title of Second Most Expensive Artwork

    Modigliani was a well-known painter and sculptor of Tuscany, Italy, though his fame sadly did not come until after his death in Paris, from tuberculosis. In his thirty-five years of life, the artist was able to produce vibrant modernized portraits, nudes, and sculptures in the early 20th century.

    Due to his lack of relative success during his lifetime, the artist had at one time attempted to sell his works to Osbert and Sacherverell Sitwell, British writers. Thought the sale was never made, Modigliani was looking to make about 100 pounds or $4,700 in today’s standards. 

    This work of art came short of the title for most expensive work of art, which is currently held by Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger and was sold for $179.4 million earlier this year. Though it may not have received the title for most expensive, the artwork did however score a place as a member of the $100 million artwork club. Included in this elite group of artists are names such as Picasso, Bacon, and Warhol.

    This artwork was a part of Christie’s “Artist’s Muse” auction, which helped to draw some attention and gain the interests of important artwork investors.

    The NU Couché was sold by daughter of famous artwork collector Gianni Mattioli, Laura Mattioli Rossi. Rossi was guaranteed a minimum of $100 million for the piece prior to auction. In addition, before the auction took place, there was concern that the piece was a tad too risqué to be sold, which added to the risk to the auction of this work.

    Even with the risk, a third party had stepped into the share the risk and receive any proceeds above the guaranteed minimum. The guaranteed minimum on artworks hold a lot of risk, but is used to get owners of such masterpieces to sell.  If unsold, auction houses pay out and have to hold on to unsold artwork, only losing out on a large sum of money, and the need to try and sell again in the future.

    The lucky investor who won the artwork was wealthy art collector Liu Yiqian, from Shanghai, China. Once a school dropout at the young age of sixteen, Liu worked for his mother to save up enough funds to buy his own taxi to work. He spent years investing in the stock market, and he eventually struck luck and made himself a billionaire on the market.

    Liu was raised during the time of China’s Cultural Revolution, and during this time, wealth and foreign art was considered extravagant. Liu and his wife own two prestigious art museums in China, and this piece will certainly be a great addition to their immense collection.  

    Christie’s auction house is the world’s largest auction house, and was founded in 1766. It has headquarters in London and New York City, and offices and salerooms throughout the world. As for the Nu Couché, it will be brought to China to be viewed by millions of people of the other side of the globe.

  • Facts & Stories

    Marchesi Pastry Shops find a new Sweet home

    The Marchesi Pastry shop has now officially found its new Prada style home, after moving from via Santa Maria alla Porta to via Monte Napoleone 9. Though it may be in a new location, the two hundred year old pastry shop veteran still offers the very same sweets that got them to where they are today.

    This historical move into the fashion district is monumental, not only because it is the first pasticceria to be located in the fashion quad, but also because it was a huge move for the business itself. 

    The shop, that had been located in the same spot “for nearly 200 years”, according to Angelo Marchesi, finally made its move with a little coaxing from Prada. If the business was going to move, it was happening with Prada giving it a little encouragement and a nice makeover.

    Having moved locations, the pastry shop was redesigned from top to bottom to bring in that certain Prada feel that is of course necessary for any business located on this stretch of land. Miuccia Prada’s very own architect, Roberto Baciocchi, fashioned the shop and its furnishings, with upgrades and styling touches that promptly brought it into the twenty-first century.

    Though there is still that traditional Marchese feel that comes along with the name, the new shop has an all over different vibe to it than before. With lights and effects created by mirrors, the bright colors of the pastries pop out and bring life to the new ambience.

    The contrast between the dark marble floors and the white ceiling provides a sort of elegant atmosphere that could only be Prada. As for the furnishings, green from the walls to the upholstery matched with marble tables, they gives a sort of uniform and fresh look to the shop.

    The sweets themselves are covered by a plexiglas box, so while protected, they are also on clear display, and are sure to attract the attention of any hungry patron. There are even new windows that allow guests to purchase wrapped treats for special occasions such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day, certainly a nice addition. Since this location is new for the business, there are also new products such as powder for pudding, chocolate pastes, and teas and ground coffees to name a few. 

    Now open every day of the week starting at 7:30 am until 9:00 pm, the store is sure to take in more business, and the freshly made on the spot desserts are there to impress.

    As far the Marchesi pastry name goes, Margherita and Angelo Marchesi are planning to bring their historical business to new locations such as Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Hong Kong, Japan, and possibly even the Middle East.

    Though the company may be increasing their number of locations, they will also still be under direct management according to Stefano Cantino, Prada's director of marketing, communications and commercial development. The famous Marchesi Pastry shop is now open for business in via Monte Napoleone 9.