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.