Edoardo Ponti films kick off ‘New Italian Cinema’

At 80, Sophia Loren still steals the spotlight.

“She still knows how to stun on the red carpet. The Italian beauty wore a chic red pantsuit as she accompanied her director son Edoardo Ponti to a screening of his new film ‘Human Voice,’” the Daily Telegraph reported from the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year. The film, which features Loren, is part of San Francisco Film Society's New Italian Cinema program, opening today with “An Evening with Edoardo Ponti” in which Ponti will introduce his short films “Human Voice” and “The Nightshift Belongs to the Stars” (featuring Julian Sands, Nastassja Kinski and Enrico Lo Verso). Sadly, Loren is not expected.

Calling Ponti’s appearance “a unique opportunity to hear him speak about his vision,” film society programmer Rod Armstrong says Ponti catalogs “a remarkable range of life” in his films, from “the first-person intimacy of 'Human Voice' to the broader presentation of human experience in 'The Nightshift Belongs to the Stars.’”

“Human Voice,” based on Jean Cocteau's one-woman play “La Voix humaine” (also the source for Poulenc's opera of the same name), depicts an elderly woman's desperate phone call, trying to win her lover back from another woman.

“My mother has never used the Stanislavski technique,” Ponti said in a New Yorker interview. “What Neapolitans do is they tap into the collective unconscious. It’s very personal, it’s very detailed, and it’s very universal. I think that’s why people relate to Sophia Loren.”

IF YOU GO

New Italian Cinema

Presented by San Francisco Film Society

Where: Vogue Theatre, 3290 Sacramento St., S.F.

When: Nov. 19-23

Tickets: $10 to $14

Contact: (415) 561-5000, www.sffs.org

Note: “An Evening with Edoardo Ponti” begins at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 19.

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