Brooklyn Museum Ushers In New Italian Films

IN another valuable program of recent European films, the Brooklyn Museum is presenting ``New Italian Cinema: Nuovi and Nuovissimi,'' featuring works by seven Italian filmmakers, all from the generation of screen artists who started to make their mark in the late 1970s.

Perhaps the most timely offering in the series is ``Palombella Rossa,'' directed by Nanni Moretti, whose marvelous ``Caro Diario'' gained much applause when it opened in American theaters a few months ago. A quirky look at social issues, left-wing politics, and water polo, ``Palombella Rossa'' is less inspired than Moretti's more recent work, but illustrates the highly personal style that has moved him to the forefront of Italian cinema. Its title translates as ``The Red Dove.''

Gianni Amelio, whose previous works include the powerful ``Open Doors,'' directed ``Il Ladro di Bambini,'' also known as ``The Robber of Children,'' about a police officer who turns an unwanted assignment - escorting two children to an orphanage - into an opportunity for compassion and companionship.

Less successful is ``The Neopolitan Mathematician,'' an atmospheric but rambling account of events leading to the suicide of a gifted and educated man. And there is little to recommend in Pappi Corsicato's disappointing ``Libera: Aurora, Carmela, Libera,'' a three-part study of women with troubled romantic and family lives. Still, its emphasis on strong female characters is emblematic of an important trend in contemporary filmmaking.

Organized by programmer Mark Gore and scholar Giuliana Bruno, the series also features ``Manila Paloma Blanca'' and the American premiere of ``Dinamite - Nuraxi Figus, Italia,'' both by Daniele Segre, as well as works by Silvio Soldini and Marco Pozzessere.

Guest speakers will provide commentary at many of the screenings. The program runs through April 15.

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