One of the most successful and award-winning contemporary Italian filmmakers, Ferzan Ozpetek (b. 1959, Istanbul) creates films that display a unique thematic focus while remaining ambitious in scope and richly rewarding in their technical achievement. Effortlessly elegant, his aesthetic rarely calls attention to itself; his films masterfully illuminate various strains of society and strands of storytelling, and his actors shine in beautifully written, multifaceted parts that embrace an unforced multiculturalism. Ozpetek's films are often rooted in the tradition of the sophisticated melodramas of the 1950s, pivoting around seemingly ordinary and content people whose lives become unmoored—often by a sudden death—leading to the discovery of previously unacknowledged passions and possibilities.
The filmmaker's signature tracking camera stunningly unites disparate time periods (as in Facing Windows and Harem) and distant locales (Italy and Turkey), and creates a visual connection between Ozpetek's central characters and the extended families they discover, whether in close friendships (Saturn in Opposition), in communal living (His Secret Life), or in caring for those in need (Sacred Heart, Facing Windows). His is a humanistic cinema in which the kindness of strangers is the most readily available because—as the Sister Sledge song puts it—"We are family."
Organized by Jytte Jensen, Curator, the Department of Film, and Camilla Cormanni and Paola Ruggiero, Cinecittà Holding, Rome. The exhibition features new prints courtesy of Cinecittà Holding. Grateful thanks to the producers and distributors: Domenico Procacci of Fandango, RAI Cinema, Medusa Film, Mikado Film, Gianluca Curti of Minerva Pictures, Tilde Corsi and Gianni Romoli of R&C Production, Sony Pictures Classics, and Strand Releasing. The series is made possible thanks to the support of the Italian Ministry of Culture, Cinema Department, in collaboration with The Italian Cultural Institute, New York, the Moon and Stars Project, The American Turkish Society, and Peuterey. Additional thanks to the Italian Consulate, New York, Moleskine, Laura Delli Colli, Antonio Monda, Mondadori, Moira Mazzantini, Lula Sarchioni, Emanuela Di Suni, Gioia Donati, and Gianni Giansanti for their kind collaboration.