Corpo Celeste at the Bill Cosford Cinema

From July 6 through 11, 2012.

Corpo Celeste, a Cannes, Sundance and New York Film Festivals Official Selection will be opening here in Miami this July. This Italian film from first-time narrative feature filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher won best feature debut from the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists.

Having recently returned to her native Italy after living in Switzerland for 10 years, quiet but curious 13-year-old Marta is left to her own devices while her loving but worn-out mother toils away at an industrial bakery. Marta’s only source of socialization is the local church, where she is sent to attend preparatory classes for her confirmation. But the doctrines of Roman Catholicism offer little in terms of life lessons or consolation, and she quickly sees through the hypocrisy of the priest, who cares more about status than about his constituents. Eventually, Marta forges her very own way of the cross, which turns out to have much less to do with God than with her own ascent into adulthood.

A student of philosophy and literature, one of Alice Rohrwacher’s key inspirations for Corpo Celeste lies with Anna Maria Ortese – the respected post WWII Italian magic realist – who wrote about the celestial world both in the sky above and the orbiting earth itself. In order to explore these mystical, dream-like spaces Alice invented her protagonist, an adolescent girl, Marta, who traverses both the world of God and the world of men and women; drawing equal parts from desolate modern landscapes and labyrinthine religious spaces, Marta is a maturing guide who leads viewers to question the boundaries and overlaps of these evolving worlds.

In developing Marta’s world, Alice speaks about walking the streets of the suburban setting, Reggio Calabria, and “attending catechism lessons, parish meetings, and reading catechism manuals.” In Alice’s words, “I didn’t have a Catholic education but I’m very interested in what is happening in the church, the place delegated to the administration of souls.” Corpo Celeste’s multi-faceted and nuanced depiction of Catholicism, as embodied by a small local parish, was variously received by Catholic organizations and priests – a Church-run television station denounced the film (before it was even released) as sacrilegious, however, upon its theatrical release a number of individual priests defended the film as an important critique of the contemporary institution. The filmmaker was told, in fact, that an organization that trains Catechism teachers showed the film in their programs to better develop the teachers’ skills.


Friday July 06 @ 7:00 p.m.
Saturday July 07 @ 1:00 p.m.
Saturday July 07 @ 5:00 p.m.
Saturday July 07 @ 9:00 p.m.
Sunday July 08 @ 3:30 p.m.
Sunday July 08 @ 7:30 p.m.
Monday July 09 @ 9:00 p.m.
Wednesday July 11@ 7:00 p.m.

UM Cosford Cinema
1111 Memorial Drive
Coral Gables, FL 33146

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