This Sunday’s issue of Arts and Leisure in the New York Times is devoted to the upcoming season, so there’s no DVD column from me — though I do have an interview with the redoubtable Lars von Trier on the subject of his upcoming “Antichrist,” as well as a scrupulously unopinionated list of all the theatrical releases coming up between now and the end of the year.
I’m back from the Venice Film Festival, where Samuel Maoz’s Isreali film “Lebanon” won the Golden Lion, and Todd Solondz had to content himself with a best screenplay prize for his excellent “Life During Wartime.” For me, most of the revelations in the festival came in the series of recently restored Italian films curated by Sergio Toffetti of the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, a program that ranged from such curiosities as Giorgio Simonelli’s “Accidenti alla guerra! . . .,” a 1948 slapstick comedy that takes a look at the lighter side of the Nazi eugenics program, to a handsome new print of Luciano Emmer’s 1961 masterpiece “La ragazza in vetrina.” The true jaw-dropper was Raffaello Matarazzo’s long lost “La nave delle donne maldette” (“The Ship of Damned Women”) of 1953, now pieced together from various fragmentary prints and digitally restored to an approximation of its original color. Reportedly the most radical work of a filmmaker sometimes described as the Italian Douglas Sirk, it’s a period melodrama that moves with impressive formal precision toward an orgiastic climax: a mid-Atlantic mutiny led by a legion of female prisoners who use the only weapons available to them — their bodies — to convince the crew to support their cause. Astonishing stuff from a filmmaker who clearly merits further investigation.