The Lavazza Italian Film Festival driven by Fiat offers 30 exquisite films from, by and about Italy. From the Opening Night film PERFECT STRANGERS (Perfetti sconosciuti), to the closing night digitally restored classic ROMAN HOLIDAY, audiences are invited to fall in love once again with Italian culture this September and October. In Melbourne, Australian actor Natasha Liu Bordizzo walked the red carpet and officially opened this year’s Lavazza Italian Film Festival at The Astor Theatre in Windsor.
The 22 year old deferred a law degree in 2014 to pursue her work in film when she secured the lead role of ‘Snow Vase’ in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon – The Green legend. With her acting credentials and Italian heritage on her father’s side, Natasha is the perfect fit for LIFF 2016.
Joining THE SPACE BETWEEN as a festival special presentation is ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS (Rocco e i suoi fratelli), Visconti’s epic of gritty social realism and almost operatic melodrama returns to celluloid glory at this year’s LIFF. Meanwhile the Centrepiece slot is taken by veteran director Marco Bellocchio’s SWEET DREAMS (Fai bei sogni) straight from Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes.
Festival guests, Melbourne filmmaker Ruth Borgobello and actress Maeve Dermody, will tour their film THE SPACE BETWEEN nationally during the festival with Q&A sessions in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth. This first Australian-Italian feature co-production is a cross-cultural, romantic drama starring Flavio Parenti and Dermody.
The rest of the program is broken down into three main sections: It’s Complicated houses eight films about relationships. From the Official Selection at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, Claudio Giovannesi’s Italian prison drama FIORE is about young love developing in a youth detention centre; winner of Best Screenplay at the Italian Golden Globes ONE KISS (Un bacio) is a story of friendship, the limits of imagination, and the consequence of honesty; filmmaker Paolo Virzì’s talent for dialogue shines brightly in LIKE CRAZY (La pazza gioia) a ‘dramedy’ about two very different women who go on a road-trip; Italian megastar Diego Abatantuono appears in the mischievous comedy DADDY’S GIRL (Belli di papà); Opening Night director Paolo Genovese provides his second LIFF film with EVER BEEN TO THE MOON? (Sei mai stata sulla luna?), a heart-warming ensemble piece featuring many of Italy’s finest actors including Raoul Bova. Plus Max Croci’s rom-com OPPOSITES ATTRACT (Poli opposti), Massimiliano Bruno’s dark comedy THE LAST WILL BE THE LAST (Gli ultimi saranno ultimi), and straight from competition at the Venice Film Festival this September, the deeply moving film from Marco Danieli THE WORLDLY GIRL (La ragazza del mondo).
In the program section Donne Italiane – the best films by and starring Italy’s leading ladies are showcased, including Ferdinando Cito Filomarino’s sumptuous cinematic portrait of an under-appreciated artist, ANTONIA based on the posthumously celebrated Italian poet Antonia Pozzi; Giuseppe Gaudino’s first fiction feature in nearly 20 years FOR OUR LOVE (Per amor vostro) displays the talent of leading lady Valeria Golino who won Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival for her role; IF YOU TELL ME (Se ti diranno di me) based on the remarkable real-life story of Lea Garofalo; Maria Sole Tognazzi’s ME, MYSELF & HER (Io e lei) a romantic comedy about the relationship of an older lesbian couple; and multi-talented veteran of the European screen, Laura Morante (GOD WILLING, LIFF 15), writes, directs and stars in SOLO (Assolo) a Woody Allen style film about a middle-aged woman who sets out to reclaim her life.
And lastly, the best new crime dramas, comedies, biopics and more are programmed in Lights, Drama, Action! Carlo Lavagna’s critically acclaimed debut, ARIANNA, is a refreshing perspective on gender identity; Roberto Andò turns his sharp gaze to the world of international finance in the offbeat thriller THE CONFESSIONS (Le confessioni) featuring an international cast including Toni Servillo; the last film of auteur Claudio Caligari, the multi-award winning DON’T BE BAD (Non essere cattivo); the madcap, offbeat comedy THE DUEL OF WINE (Il duello di vino); Matteo Rovere’s thrilling new film ITALIAN RACE (Veloce come il vento) set in the world of GT (Gran Turismo) racing and starring Stefano Accorsi; raw and gritty, NAPOLI JUNGLE (Bagnoli Jungle) doesn’t hold back in its depiction of an aimless and defeated community; Fiorella Infascelli’s ONCE IN SUMMER (Era d’estate), a character study of two very different men on the same date with destiny; THE PLOY (La macchinazione) about one of the most mysterious and controversial crimes in Italian history, the murder of Pasolini; and director Gianni Zanasi’s light-hearted drama THE COMPLEXITY OF HAPPINESS (La felicità è un sistema complesso).
There will also be a special presentation for Melbourne and Sydney – 88 DAYS (88 giorni) – a local documentary which follows the stories of various young Italian migrants as they work in farms across rural Australia in order to obtain a further year in their working holiday visa. This film explores the work and life of young migrant Italians who have chosen this path and their lives after the experience. Please join screenwriter Michele Grigoletti and researcher Silvia Pianelli for a spirited discussion about the emigration of young Italians to Australia.
Tickets are now on sale. Visit www.italianfilmfestival.com.au for more information
Presented by Palace Cinemas, the Lavazza Italian Film Festival driven by Fiat will screen exclusively at the following locations nationally:
Sydney – September 13 to October 9, Palace Norton St, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinema.
Melbourne – September 15 to October 9, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Westgarth, Kino Cinemas and The Astor.
Hobart – September 15 to September 25, State Cinema.
Canberra – September 20 to October 12, Palace Electric.
Adelaide – September 21 to October 12, Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas.
Perth – September 22 to October 12, Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX.
Brisbane – September 28 to October 19, Palace Barracks.
Images by Jim Lee Photo