Spring into spring with some Italian fare.
Second only to the Alliance Française Film Festival in terms of size, the Lavazza Italian Film Festival 2017 returns to Palace Electric Canberra in its eighteenth iteration. Akin to its ‘fratello francese’, the Lavazza Italian Film Festival is the biggest celebration of Italian cinema outside of Italy.
In town from Sept 14 – Oct 8, you will have plenty of chances to indulge your Italian inclinations as the festival this year offers 28 features across two primary categories: “Comedy, Italian Style”, and “Lights, Drama, Action!”.
Canberra will also enjoy the inclusion of exciting Opening/Closing Nights, a Special Event midway through the festival and a rare Q+A Session with this year’s Festival Ambassador – Greta Scacchi.
With an illustrious and decorated career to date across stages, screens and languages, Scacchi will be familiar to Australian audiences for her Award-winning performance in Australian coming-of-age classic Looking For Alibrandi (2000).
Born in Milan, Italy, 1960, Scacchi and her family migrated to Perth, Australia, 1975. She would endear herself to Australian audiences over the years and make waves internationally both on stage and screen, eventually receiving an Italian knighthood – Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana – for her services to the arts, at the Italian Embassy, London, 2013. This year, she stars in the multi-award winning festival inclusion Tenderness – a post-WWII drama set in Naples.
A debut for the festival is the Bulgari Critics’ Choice Award. Six featured films will contend for $10,000 prize-money and a tailor-made award from Bulgari, with the winner to be announced in Melbourne and decided by a six-member panel including film critics, local actors and aforementioned festival Ambassador Greta Scacchi.
Opening Night on Thursday 14 September gets proceedings off to a light start with the premiere of the 2017 Italian Golden Globe Winner for Best Comedy and Best Supporting Actress, Let Yourself Go!
Q+A Screening on Tuesday 19 September of Tenderness, followed by Q+A with Festival Ambassador and star of the film Greta Scacchi.
Special Event on 27th September will be the screening of rousing biopic Dalida which tells the story of the eponymous and legendary Italian disco queen who reigned supreme between the 50s and the 80s.
Closing Night crowns the award-winning line-up with a masterpiece. Life Is Beautiful (1997) will celebrate its 20th anniversary as part of the festival and Roberto Benigni’s masterwork demands to be seen. If you’ve seen it already, see it again. Having seen it 20 years ago upon local release at Electric Shadows, the chance beckons to be moved yet again by its message on the big screen. This Best Picture Oscar Winner is not just one the best Italian films ever made, it’s probably one of the best films ever made. Period.
Other choice picks for the festival include:
Fortunata – a single mother fights for her independence (Winner of Best Actress Un Certain Regard at Cannes Film Festival this year)
Coffee – a trio of interconnected stories exploring human relationships through coffee (Canberra’s coffee-loving-community should flock to see this one)
From Naples With Love – an endearing epistle to Naples through two charming and overlapping love stories
At War For Love –the new feature from director and irreverent satirist Pierfranceso Diliberto (The Mafia Kills Only In Summer) finds love-struck Arturo leaving 1940s New York for Sicily in order to secure papa’s permission for the hand in marriage of his mafia-boss-betrothed love interest Flora
After the War – the true story of a former left-wing terrorist trying to leave his past life behind
The Intruder – a crisis of conscience as a social worker harbours a family with strong mafia connections thereby endangering others
I Was A Dreamer – a Roman tale of redemption about an ex-con trying to atone for the havoc he has wreaked and right the community he has wronged
Pure Hearts – a modern-day searing exposé of evangelism and prejudice where the social influence of the church on one woman’s life collides with a young man’s unfolding and uncomfortable relationship with the Roma people he has hitherto viewed as others disconnected from his lived experience
Naples ’44 – experimental documentary about the romantic resilience of the titular city, adapted from the military memoir of a British Intelligence Officer who experienced war-torn Naples in 1944 (Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch)
With the festival running for three and half weeks, pencil in those flicks you want and see and make sure to get among the festivities. Keep your eyes peeled for ‘Best of the Fest’ sessions towards the end of the festival.
Pick up your program at Palace Electric or head to: www.italianfilmfestival.com.au for more information.
Now 18 years young, the Lavazza Italian Film Festival has come of age.
Gold Sponsors: Lavazza; Alfa Romeo; Stella Artois; SBS; World Movies
Silver Sponsors: Emirates; Bulgari; Valdo
Bronze Sponsors: Vespa; That’s Amore Cheese; Global Forwarding; Levante
Local Partner: Hotel Hotel