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The Best of Youth (R) 

There is something to be said for the six-hour epic that feels like a tidy, two-hour tour de force, but that is what the critics have been saying -- breathlessly, almost -- about the landmark saga from Italian director Marco Tullio Giordana, The Best of Youth. And in a fearless little bit of programming, the New Orleans Film Festival is taking a cue from New York's Film Forum, which screened the film for serious moviegoers last spring in two three-hour installments. We're still waiting for the first complaint of what might sound like a film-viewing chore, which is a testament to the critical response to Giordana's narrative pacing. We are not only introduced to the Carati family; we practically join it and grow up inside it over the course of 30 years. "There is absolutely no reason not to sacrifice a couple of your evenings for the sake of the Caratis, the lightly bound clan at the heart of Giordana's epic," wrote New Yorker film critic David Denby, "not, I should add, because they will offer you a pulsing escape from your own family life but precisely because the rhythm of their pleasures and scarrings will, over time, come to seem like a consoling echo of your own." Stars Jasmine Trinca, Luigi Lo Casio and Alessio Boni. Tickets for both nights $12 general admission, $10 NOFF members; $7.50 and $6.50 for single-night admission. -- David Lee Simmons
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