It didn’t take long for Adam Leon to establish himself as one of the top filmmakers at capturing different aspects of New York City. His two previous films, Gimme the Loot and Tramps, followed young people as they explored the city, discovering new things while also discovering themselves. Leon’s latest, Italian Studies, is the same in many ways, but with a big star in Vanessa Kirby and an ambiguous storyline to match an experimental filmmaking style, it would prove to be very different.
Shot in pre-pandemic Manhattan across 2018 and 2019, Italian Studies stars Kirby as an amnesiac author wandering the city trying to figure out who she is. She is drawn to a group of energetic, creatively talented teens, including the charismatic Simon (Simon Brickner) who may be the only chance to rediscover her identity.
Unlike Leon’s plot-driven predecessors, Italian Studies is looser, disorienting, and mysterious; all by the director’s design.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Adam Leon about his new film, what it was like working with Vanessa Kirby in such a guerrilla fashion on the streets of New York, and more. Italian Studies opens in theaters on January 14th. Check out my review here and the interview below.