What Is Normal

Somewhere Amazing directed by Georgia Cecere (Italy) 2015 is about the gradual evolution of a woman.

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Lucia is a young wife and mother who lives a conventional life in an unnamed Italian city. She’s half owner of a flower shop where she works during the day.

However, a jarring incident, during an outing in the country, disrupts her orderly routine and little by little she manages to move beyond the limits of the familiar and venture toward a more satisfying future.

The film was one of a half dozen narrative features by new directors in New Italian Cinema 20.

This year’s festival recently concluded in New York and San Francisco but will screen at International House in Philadelphia 1 – 4 December 2016.

See http://www.nicefestival.org for more information.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

www.nikosdiaman.com

New Italian Cinema 20

New Italian Cinema Events (NICE) opens 16 November 2016 at the Vogue Theatre in San Francisco.

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Fifteen feature films will screen during the five-day mini festival, many of them works by emerging directors. This is a joint project of the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco and NICE of Florence, Italy.

Second Spring directed by Francesco Calogero (Italy) 2016 is the opening night film and Like Crazy directed by Paolo Virzi (Italy/France) 2016 is the closing night film.

The Vogue Theatre is at 3290 Sacramento Street in San Francisco.

For more information and tickets see New Italian Cinema.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

www.nikosdiaman.com

Shifting Sands

In The Last Days Of The City directed by Tamer El Said (Egypt) 2016 is one of the highlights of the 20th annual Arab Film Festival.

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This haunting narrative feature attempts to cover the mood in Cairo just before the popular uprising that toppled the Hosni Mubarak regime.

Khalid, a young video maker, and his friends gather material for a documentary he is making about the city and other trouble spots in the area. While the main focus is on Egypt, there are also references to Beirut and Bagdad as well.

The film will screen again Sunday evening 16 October 2016 at the Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley. For more information and tickets contact Arab Film Festival.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

www.nikosdiaman.com

Lucky Thirteen

The 13th annual San Francisco Greek Film Festival runs 15 – 22 October 2016 at the Delancy Screening Room, 600 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94107.

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Mythopathy directed by Tassos Boulmetis (Greece) 20016 is the opening night feature film. It will be preceded by two shorts: Without Milk directed by Thodoris Vournas and Joanna directed by Panayiotis Fafoutis.

Other features include: Suntan by Argyris Papadimitropoulos, Erotica, Erotica, Etc. by Evangelia Kraniot, SMAC by Elias Demetriou, Wednesday 04:45 by Alexis Alexiou, Invisible by Dimitris Athanitis, Chevalier by Athina Rachel Tsangari, and Cloudy Sunday by Manousos Manousakis.

For more information and tickets contact San Francisco Greek Film Festival.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

www.nikosdiaman.com

Arab Film Fest 20

The twentieth annual Arab Film Festival opens soon in five California cities.

arabfilmfest20

San Francisco 7 – 11 October 2016, Oakland 12 – 14 October 2016, Berkeley 15 – 16 October 2016, Los Angeles 21 – 23 October 2016, and San Diego 27 – 30 October 2016.

Clash directed by Mohamed Diab (Egypt) 2016 is the opening night film at the Castro Theatre. It will be preceded by a reception and followed by a party at Mercer featuring DJ Emancapacion. Subsequent San Francisco screenings will be at the Embarcadero Center Cinema.

Very Big Shot directed by Mir-Jean Bou Chaya (Lebanon) 2015 is the opening night film at Harmony Gold in Los Angeles. Iraqi Odyssey is the opening film at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego.

This year’s festival includes narrative features, documentaries, and shorts from Egypt, France, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey.

For more information and tickets contact Arab Film Festival.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

www.nikosdiaman.com

Music Adventure

I first traveled to Europe fifty years ago. During the four months I lived in Paris I preferred listening to British rock and American soul, tuning into pirate stations such as Radio Caroline and Radio Luxembourg to hear the Beatles and Rolling Stones.

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I also listened to Antoine, Johnny Hallyday, Mireille Mathieu, Michel Poinareff, and Sylvie Vartan to some extent but French vocalists seemed to lack intensity and feeling.

However, passing through Italy I was glad to catch one of those French pop singers, while in Greece I strained to hear Arabic music some distance away.

Over time I tired of rock and desired something different, preferably quieter. I was drawn to Afro pop, rai, fado, and even popular Greek vocalists.

Now I look forward to exploring the choices in Athens and spend too much money buying laika CDs there.

This year I brought back a number of discs by Stelios Bikakis, Giorgos Giannias, Pantelis Pantelidis, and Paschalis Terzis. Plus a couple of surprising purchases: Takim and Zipelia Cress.

I heard a few cuts of  Takim during the few minutes I spent in a store buying a CD by one of the artists already on my list. But it was long enough to realize I definitely liked what I was being exposed to.

I number of young musicians collaborated on this project and the performers are seven men who recorded after a ten year hiatus. The name sounds Turkish and the music has a distinctly eastern flavor.

I was introduced to Zipelia Cress by Vangelis, who is the composer of the music played on this CD. It’s mellow rock inspired by the familiar San Francisco sound. I returned to the store for his autograph but passed up buying a follow-up CD with a harder edge.

I didn’t find everything I looked for this time but I’ll undoubtedly return with a new list in a couple of years.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Book Lover

I was hoping to visit Papasotiriou again, a large bookstore across from the university in Central Athens. Especially the large English-language section on the top floor where I found the latest titles in Greek history, politics, and culture in previous years. But it’s no longer in business.

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There are English-language books at Public on Syntagma Square, though nothing resembling the depth of titles stocked by the defunct bookstore. However, it’s a great source for new Greek CDs.

One evening I noticed a bookstore in the neighborhood specializing in dictionaries but it was closed. A few days later I checked it out during business hours and was amazed at what I found. Lexikopoleio sells French, English, Spanish, and Italian books as well as dictionaries. And all titles are sold at the prices charged in their country of origin.

When Odile Brehier rented the space in the wake of the economic meltdown, women passing by frequently asked her if she really wanted to do this. She was undeterred by their skepticism and launched what’s become a successful venture five years ago.

Odile’s father was French and her mother Greek. She was born in the French Congo and has lived most of her life in Athens. Working as a translator is a solitary task. The store allows her an opportunity to socialize with like-minded people.

An event I attended hosted by Lexikopoleio featured young Greek prose writers and the editor who put together a book of their work for French readers. An overflow crowd packed the store and some lingered afterwards for a reception with people chatting with one another both inside and out in the street.

Brehier is a charming and gracious host who enthusiastically greets both old friends and new visitors to her store. She lives and works in Pangrati, or Frog Island, an area defined by two rivers that still flow underground.

I look forward to visiting this neighborhood gem and seeing her again the next time I visit the city.

image & text copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

www.nikosdiaman.com