Two Movies to Catch at 2014 New Directors/New Films Festival

20,000 Days on Earth

Directed by Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard

20,000 Days on Earth is a reflective, spiritual, and close-up introduction to the world of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.  The camera follows Nick Cave, an extremely bright and imaginative man, as he records his latest album with his band.  We are exposed to an intimate portrait of the artist speaking to his shrink, talking about his past troubles and adventures, and telling stories of his memories regarding wild tours with other musicians and collaborators. 

Cave humbly reveals the different stages of his life: as a teenager, entering manhood, and beyond.  He speaks of his drug use and religion (and their strange link), multiple locks of hair he purchased in chocolate boxes at flea markets, trippy neighbors, bad weather in Brighton, poetry and writing, and many more tales for fans to enjoy.  Cave even tells a gripping story about opening for Nina Simone, and how the artist must transform when going on stage.

The film mixes images of the Bad Seeds recording songs, interviews with Cave and other musicians, and raw footage of past live concerts, where one really gets a feel for this man’s endless and passionate energy for music, performance, and life.  A real gem for Nick Cave fans out there, as the man prevails over the myth.    
 —Marco Agnolucci
20,000 Days on Earth plays this Sunday, March 30, 7:00pm, a 9:30pm – FSLC

Directed by Fabio Grassadonia & Antonio Piazza  

Salvo is a beautifully shot film, which takes us deep into the daily life of a ruthless hit man- gangster working for a faction of the Palermo based Mafia.  Salvo, played brilliantly by Saleh Bakri, is a grounded, quiet, and vicious killer, who is relentless when hunting his prey.  After murdering a rival gangster in his home, Salvo is faced with the decision to kill, or save, the man’s blind sister, Rita (Sara Serraiocco), who “witnessed” it all.  Torn by what to do, Salvo decides to bring Rita to a hideout in the middle of an abandoned factory in the Sicilian countryside.  The next days of his life, and his decision to save or discard Rita, will haunt him as he weighs good versus evil and questions his entire past as a heartless criminal.  

Salvo is a rewriting of the gangster film genre, and is certainly unorthodox in its portrayal of the Sicilian underworld.  It is a mix between Jarmusch’s Dead Man, Friedkin’s French Connection, and Leone’s classic Dollars Trilogy.  However, the direction of the storyline and the film’s take on the gangster flick is fresh and of its own.  My compliments go to Grassadonia and Piazza for creating such an original and memorable view of the genre.  The chase and action scenes, primarily at the beginning of the film, are very well executed and recall some of the impressive camera work of Children of Men. 

Bakri and Serraiocco shine in this film.  Their talent and hard work in embodying these physically and psychologically demanding roles is impressive, to say the least.  The scenes shot in Enna, Sicily, and in the Province of Palermo, are worthy of praise as the cinematography is breathtaking.  Salvo is a standout debut feature, and is not to be missed by all the gangster and foreign film lovers out there.
—Marco Agnolucci

Salvo plays: Saturday, March 29, 9:00pm – MoMA

Sunday, March 30, 4:00pm – FSLC

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