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:: Spotlight :: Lavazza Italian Film Festival 2006

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Now in its seventh year, Australia’s most vibrant cinematic event, the Italian Film Festival, again proudly sponsored by Lavazza, Italy’s favourite coffee, is set to delight filmlovers of all ages with a spectacular programme of seventeen new movies to be screened throughout October, November and December for the first time in this country.

Showcasing the latest works from directors such as Nanni Moretti, Cristina Comencini, Robert Faenza, Michele Placido, Pupi Avati and Marco Bellocchio, with performances by Sergio Castellitto, Kim Rossi Stuart, Valeria Golino, Geraldine Chaplin, Margherita Buy, Luigi Lo Cascio, Jasmine Trinca and Silvio Muccino, the 2006 Festival will delight Italian movie ‘aficionados’ and novices alike. Movie buffs will also be treated to an in-depth retrospective on the films of acclaimed director Michelangelo Antonioni encompassing fourteen features, including Blow Up and Zabriskie Point, along with an extensive selection of the Maestro’s short films dating back to 1943.

Special guests for the Festival will be Academy-Award-Winning director Gabriele Salvatores and producer Maurizio Totti. Palace Managing Director, Antonio Zeccola, said, “Each year we look forward to sharing the magical warmth and passion of Italian cinema with Australian audiences, so I am therefore truly honoured that this year’s Festival will be enriched by the presence of two of Italy’s foremost contemporary filmmakers.”

Salvatores, who won the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ Academy Award for Mediterraneo (1991), and Totti will be in Australia to present their latest feature Quo Vadis, Baby?, an absorbing thriller about a private investigator who delves into her long-dead sister’s apparent suicide.

My Best Enemy, which blitzed the Italian box office earlier this year, will launch the 2006 Festival. Directed by, and featuring veteran actor Carlo Verdone, and heart-throb Silvio Muccino, both of whom starred in Manual of Love, the break-out hit of the 2005 Italian Film Festival, My Best Enemy is a hilarious, occasionally poignant, cross-generational tale about the dangers of making enemies and the importance of family.

Additional 2006 Programme highlights include:

Along The Ridge (Anche Libero Va Bene)
Seen through the eyes of an eleven year-old boy, actor Kim Rossi Stuart’s profound and touching directorial debut, tells the story of two children and their father who form a strangely united and courageous family after being abandoned by the most important woman in their lives, their mother and wife.

The Caiman (Il Caimano)
Palme d’Or winning actor/director Nanni Moretti's long-awaited, multi-award winning follow-up to The Son’s Room combines entertaining comedy with an electrifying critique of Silvio Berlusconi (variously played by Elio De Capitani, Michele Placido and Moretti himself). By turns funny, sublime and rousing, The Caiman is the first Italian feature to attack the former prime minister directly.

The Wedding Director (Il Regista Di Matrimoni)
This award-winning new film from legendary auteur Marco Bellocchio (Good Morning, Night) stars Sergio Castellitto as a famous film director who inadvertently finds himself in Sicily filming a princess’ wedding.

The Beast In The Heart (aka Don’t Tell) (La Bestia Nel Cuore)
Nominee for Best Foreign Language film at the 2006 Academy Awards, this is the tale of a young woman who has everything, yet finds herself tormented by strange nightmares that hint at disturbing and suppressed memories from her past.

The Caiman (Il Caimano)
Palme d’Or winning actor/director Nanni Moretti's long-awaited, multi-award winning follow-up to The Son’s Room combines entertaining comedy with an electrifying critique of Silvio Berlusconi (variously played by Elio De Capitani, Michele Placido and Moretti himself). By turns funny, sublime and rousing, The Caiman is the first Italian feature to attack the former prime minister directly.

Crime Novel (Romanzo Criminale)
Director Michele Placido’s absorbing gangster epic, based on Giancarlo De Cataldo’s novel of the same name, rides full steam through Italy’s years of terrorism and offers a gangster’s viewpoint of recent Italian history

The Days Of Abandonment (I Giorni Dell'abbandono)
Four-time David di Donatello winner Margherita Buy confirms her standing as one of Italy’s finest leading ladies with her blistering and surprisingly forceful portrayal of a woman whose self esteem and sense of femininity are put to the test in director Roberto Faenza’s insightful drama of a woman whose life is shattered by her husband’s betrayal. Nominated for the Golden Lion at the 2005 Venice Film Festival.

Marcello: A Sweet Life (Marcello: Una Vita Dolce)
An intimate look at the career of the legendary Marcello Mastroianni; the premier Italian actor of the post-war era. Ten years after his death, the name “Mastroianni” still evokes memories of a world composed of talent, good looks, charm and seduction. Consisting of interviews with Mastroianni himself, excerpts from films, behind the scenes footage and comments from actors, directors and many people who were close to him, Marcello: A Sweet Life, reveals what was hidden behind that knowing gaze and charming smile.

National Dates For The 2006 Lavazza Italian Film Festival Are:

MELBOURNE
October 25 to November 12
Venues: Palace Cinema Como, Palace Balwyn & Palace Westgarth.
(Antonioni retrospective screens exclusively at Palace George October 16 until November 5)

SYDNEY
October 26 to November 13
Venues: Palace Academy and Norton Street Cinemas
(Antonioni retrospective screens exclusively at Chauvel November 2 to 12)

CANBERRA
November 23 to December 3
Venue: GU Manuka
(Programme includes Antonioni retrospective)

BRISBANE
November 9 to 22
Venue: Palace Centro
(Programme includes Antonioni retrospective)

PERTH
November 16 to 29
Venues: Cinema Paradiso & Luna SX
(programme screens across both venues and includes the Antonioni retrospective)

ADELAIDE
November 23 to December 6
Venue: Palace Nova East End
(Programme includes Antonioni retrospective)

For more information, visit

www.italianfilmfestival.com.au