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:: Spotlight :: 2009 Italian Film Festival

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Get set for the tenth annual Lavazza Italian Film Festival presented by Palace Cinemas, which will blaze across Australian cinema screens from September 16 until October 28.

The Festival celebrates a decade of laughter, tears, suspense, high drama and unrequited love in 2009, with a brilliant selection of contemporary Italian cinema that will transport Australian audiences to this land of passion. Italians are renowned for boisterous emotions and zest for life, and this outstanding programme of films presents the country in her many colourful guises.

The critically acclaimed, Cannes-nominated drama VINCERE has been selected as the Opening Night film. Part love story, part mystery and epic in its scale, VINCERE, from auteur Marco Bellocchio (GOOD MORNING, NIGHT), tells the little-known but heartbreaking story of Ida Dalsar, the first wife of Benito Mussolini, whose role in the tyrant’s rise to power has all but been airbrushed from history. Starring the ravishing Giovanna Mezzorgiorno (FACING WINDOWS) in a career-best performance, VINCERE is a film that will haunt you long after the credits have rolled.

THIS YEAR’S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

The Australian premiere screenings of Michael Winterbottom’s moving drama Genova, a beautifully nuanced new film about love, loss and forgiveness, set against the captivating beauty of the eponymous city and starring Colin Firth and Catherine Keener.

Brave Men (I galantuomini) by Edoardo Winspeare. A tantalizing blend of melodrama and investigative cinema firmly built on the rare figure of the female Mafia boss (Donatella Finocchiaro in a stand-out role).

A Perfect Day (Un giorno perfetto) by Ferzan Ozpetek. A compelling, ensemble drama from the director of FACING WINDOWS which follows 24 hours in the lives of a group of people, before they all become irreversibly connected.

Many Kisses Later (Molti baci dopo) by Fausto Brizzi. A runaway box-office smash-hit in Italy which follows the romantic misadventures of six couples and their exes between Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

Fortapàsc by Marco Risi. An idealistic young reporter stumbles upon the information that will enable him to write a searing exposé on the local mafia chapter, only to learn that truth comes at a terrifying price.

Giovanna’s Father (Il papà di Giovanna) by Pupi Avati. Set in 1938, this compelling drama tells the story of an overly protective father who discovers that his daughter is not the shy girl he had assumed her to be. A showcase for actors Silvio Orlando (awarded Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival) and Alba Rohrwacher.

Guilia Doesn’t Go Out At Night (Guilia non esce la sera) by Guiseppe Piccioni. A swimming teacher who is harbouring a secret from her past embarks upon an affair with the father of one of her pupils. Starring luminous Hollywood-Italian star Valeria Golino.

Mid-August Lunch (Pranzo di ferragosto) (PG) by Gianni di Gregorio. On a sweltering Roman summer holiday weekend, middle-aged Gianni reluctantly finds himself playing nursemaid, servant and entertainer to three ill-tempered elderly ladies, revealing their vulnerability, peculiarities and charms..

The Man Who Loves (L’uomo che ama) by Maria Sole Tognazzi. A rarely-seen woman's take on a man's experience of love and heartbreak featuring the eternal Monica Bellucci and rugged Italian heart-throb Pierfrancesco Favino (who recently starred opposite Tom Hanks in ANGELS & DEMONS).

The Last Pulcinella (L'ultimo pulcinella) by Maurizio Scaparro. Based on an unrealised script by Roberto Rossellini this was the Closing Night film of the 2008 Rome International Film Festival, and is a powerful fable of the healing power of theatre and performance. Starring Massimo Ranieri (one of Italy’s greatest pop singers).

And in recognition of our Tenth Birthday, we’ve unlocked our archives and selected the most outstanding Festival films from the last decade, including 100 STEPS, CRIME NOVEL and THE CONSEQUENCES OF LOVE which will form The 10th Anniversary Selection, a once-only retrospective that will screen throughout the Festival.

The Festival is also proud to continue its longstanding association with Lavazza, the makers of Italy’s favourite coffee. Festival patrons can look forward to savouring Italy’s definitive espresso time and time again throughout the Festival.

NATIONAL DATES:
Melbourne September 16 - October 5; Palace Balwyn, Cinema Como, Westgarth & Kino Cinemas
Sydney September 23 - October 12; Palace Norton Street, Academy Twin & Verona
Brisbane October 1 - 18; Palace Centro & Barracks
Adelaide October 14 - 28; Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas
Perth October 15 - 28; Cinema Paradiso & Luna on SX
Canberra October 15 - 25; Arc Cinema, National Film and Sound Archive

VISIT THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE HERE

For more information, visit

www.italianfilmfestival.com.au