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:: Spotlight :: 2010 Italian Film Festival

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Palace Cinemas are pleased to bring the 2010 Lavazza Italian Film Festival (LIFF) to Australia. Now in its 11th year, the LIFF celebrates Italian art and culture in all its guises with something for serial Italophiles as well as for genuine movie buffs of any nationality. The festival launches in Palace Cinemas in Melbourne on September 22 and follows in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra, with more than 350 screenings of the best new films Italy has to offer.

This year’s program showcases twenty six films handpicked from the Cannes, Berlin, Rome and Venice film festivals. Enjoy a glass of Prosecco, authentic Italian beer, or another aperitivo in the Palace bar before taking in a film or two. Afterwards, critique your film over an espresso, limoncello or a serving of affogato (that’s ice cream topped with a hot espresso shot) with friends. “Escape to Italy for a few hours and experience the latest and greatest in contemporary Italian cinema” says newly appointed festival director Elysia Zeccola. “There is so much in the program for audiences to be excited about and I look forward to sharing the stories of modern-day Italy with filmgoers at their local Palace Cinema”.

Among the festival highlights are festival opener LA NOSTRA VITA, which won the Best Actor Award for Elio Germano at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Others include THE FIRST BEAUTIFUL THING by Paolo Virzì (Her Whole Life Ahead), a runner-up for Best Film at this year’s David Di Donatello Awards (Italy’s own Oscars). Sweeping epic BAARÌA (by Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso), chosen to open the 2009 Venice International Film Festival; controversial political documentary DRAQUILA – ITALY TREMBLES from Official Selection in Cannes; and Raoul Bova in the rom-com SORRY IF I WANT TO MARRY YOU.

Other highlights include Giuseppe Capotondi’s debut feature THE DOUBLE HOUR; Gabriele Salvatores’ tongue-in-cheek comedy HAPPY FAMILY; Ferzan Ozpetek’s coming-out comedy LOOSE CANNONS; Silvio Soldini’s relationship drama WHAT MORE DO I WANT with Alba Rohwacher (I Am Love); compelling drama THE MAN WHO WILL COME which won the Best Film Award at the 2010 David Di Donatello Awards; and impressive debut feature TEN WINTERS.

The Lavazza Italian Film Festival 2010 presented by Palace Cinemas will be held in Melbourne (September 22 - October 10) at Palace Cinema Como, Balwyn, Brighton Bay, Westgarth and Kino Cinemas; Sydney (September 23 - October 10) at Palace Norton Street and Palace Verona; Brisbane (October 6 - 24) at Palace Centro and Palace Barracks; Canberra (October 7 - 17) at Arc Cinema and Greater Union Manuka; Adelaide (October 13 - 27) at Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas; and Perth (October 14 - 28) at Cinema Paradiso Northbridge and Luna on SX Freemantle.

Visit the official website for more details and screening times.

FILM HIGHLIGHTS

LA NOSTRA VITA – Italy/France 2010
Director: Daniele Luchetti. Cast: Elio Germano, Isabella Ragonese, Raoul Bova, Stefania Montorsi, Luca Zingaretti, Giorgio Colangeli, Alina Berzunteanu, Marius Ignat.
The Opening Night Selection is an unvarnished portrayal of an ambitious working-class man (Elio Germano – Winner Best Actor, Cannes 2010), who is full of life and not entirely honest. When tragedy befalls his family, he makes a deal to better his circumstances and, in doing so, agrees to cover up his boss’ secret. This moving drama is a must-see film.

BAARIA (BAARIA: LA PORTA DEL VENTO) - Italy/France 2009
Director: Giuseppe Tornatore. Cast: Francesco Scianna, Margareth Made, Nicole Grimaudo, Lina Sastri, Salvo Ficarra, Valentino Picone, Enrico Lo Verso, Nino Frassica.
From Academy Award® winner Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso) comes a sweeping, period epic about a poor Sicilian man’s struggle for justice in a community controlled by Mafia. As entertaining as it is melancholic, its depiction of 20th-century Sicilian village life is a moving tribute to the director’s hometown of Bagheria (“Baaria” in the local dialect).

THE DOUBLE HOUR (LA DOPPIA ORA) - Italy 2009
Director: Giuseppe Capotondi. Cast: Ksenia Rappoport, Filippo Timi, Antonia Truppo, Gaetano Bruno, Fausto Alesi, Michele di Mauro, Lucia Poli.
Love and danger unexpectedly meet in this offbeat thriller. Eastern European woman Sonia (the mesmerizing Ksenia Rappoport) has recently moved to Turin where she signs up for a speed-dating service - facing the blunt and the sleazy - until she meets Guido (Filippo Timi, oozing macho sexuality), the two hit it off and a romance quickly develops.

WHAT MORE DO I WANT? (COSA VOGLIO DI PIU) - Italy 2010
Director: Silvio Soldini. Cast: Alba Rohrwacher, Pierfrancesco Favino, Teresa Saponangelo, Giuseppe Battiston, Fabio Troiano.
A passionate relationship drama starring Alba Rohrwacher (I Am Love) as a woman in her thirties who feels the spark has gone out of her relationship until she meets Domenico, a married man, through work and they embark on a steamy fully-fledged affair…

THE FIRST BEAUTIFUL THING (LA PRIMA COSA BELLA) - Italy 2010
Director: Paolo Virzì. Cast: Valerio Mastandrea, Micaela Ramazzotti, Stefania Sandrelli, Claudia Pandolfi, Marco Messeri, Fabrizia Sacchi, Aurora Frasca.
This affecting and nostalgic drama tells the story of a misanthropic son returning to his hometown to see his mother, a visit that triggers bittersweet memories.

HAPPY FAMILY - Italy 2010
Director: Gabriele Salvatores. Cast: Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Margherita Buy, Valeria Bilello, Fabio De Luigi, Corinna Agustoni, Gianmaria Biancuzzi, Alice Croci, Diego Abatantuono, Carla Signoris, Ugo Conti.
A colourful tongue-in-cheek comedy about a writer holed up in his apartment in Milan one hot summer trying to punch out a story while the characters come to life around him offering their input on the direction they think the story should take!

THE MAN WHO WILL COME – Italy 2009
Director: Giorgio Diritti. Cast: Maya Sansa, Claudio Casadio, Alba Rohrwacher, Vito, Eleonora Mazzoni, Timo Jacobs, Raffaele Zabban, Tom Sommerlatte.
A powerful and engrossing drama based on the World War II tragedy known as the Marzabotto Massacre. The film captures village life in the beautiful countryside around Bologna. Winner of the Best Film Award at the Italian Oscars.

LOOSE CANNONS (MINE VAGANTI) - Italy 2010
Director: Ferzan Ozpetek. Cast: Riccardo Scamarcio, Nicole Grimaudo, Alessandro Preziosi, Ennio Fantastichini, Lunetta Saviano, Elena Sofia Ricci, Ilaria Occhini.
Tommaso has a comfortable life in Rome and is in a steady relationship with his boyfriend Marco - a life he has kept secret from his conservative family. He decides to reveal his homosexuality hopefully get out of his business obligations. When his plans are thwarted, Tommaso is stuck on the path that he was desperately trying to avoid.

DRAQUILA – ITALY TREMBLES (DRAQUILA – L’ITALIA CHE TREMA) - Italy 2010
Director: Sabina Guzzanti. With: Massimo Cialento, Stefania Pezzopane, Giovanni Lolli, Angelo Venti, Giustino Masciocco, Giuliano Santelli, Paola Agnello Modica.
This documentary examines the aftermath of an April 2009 earthquake that devastated the historic city of L'Aquila, the capital of Italy’s wildly beautiful region of Abruzzo. In this impassioned documentary, Guzzanti alleges that the disaster was used by the government for political gain.

TEN WINTERS (DIECI INVERNI) - Italy/Russia 2009
Director: Valerio Mieli. Cast: Isabella Ragonese, Michele Riondino, Glen Blackhall, Sergei Zhigunov, Sergei Nikonenko, Liuba Zaizeva, Alice Torriani, Sara Lazzaro, Francesco Brandi, Luca Avagliano.
In Winter 1999 Camilla is spotted by a would-be Romeo, Silvestro. Despite getting the brush-off, he follows Camilla to her home. Over the next ten years, Silvestro and Camilla develop a strong bond, and the narrative captures a beautifully painful, reflective push and pull between two souls who keep finding their way back to each other.

SORRY, IF I WANT TO MARRY YOU – Italy 2010
Director: Federico Moccia. Cast: Raoul Bova, Michela Quattrociocche.
This delightful comedy was a box-office hit in Italy and tells the story of a romance between Alex and Niki where everything is perfect. That is, until Niki finds a new social circle and Alex proposes to avoid loosing her. A domino effectof misunderstandings and miscommunications unfolds.

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**Opening Night in Melbourne**

More than 800 passionate serial Italophiles as well as genuine movie buffs of all nationalities joined Film Festival Director Elysia Zeccola in launching the 11th annual LAVAZZA ITALIAN FILM FESTIVAL presented by Palace Cinemas. The festival, which runs for 18 days, celebrates Italian art and culture in all its guises with all of the glamour, passion, drama and artistry we have come to expect from Italian cinema.

Guests included Shura Taft (Nine Network), Heidi Valkenburg (Nine Network), Rob Mascara, ex-Hawthorn footballer Angelo Lekkas, Lavazza’s Jamie and Amanda Valmorbida, Singer/Songwriter Alisa Fedele and Palace Cinema Founder Antonio Zeccola.

Stephanie Zeccola, Antonio Zeccola & Elysia Zeccola
Christelle Stuchbery & Alisa Fedele
Shura Taft & Heidi Valkenburg Jamie and Amanda Valmorbida
Stephanie & Emilio Rogliano Angelo Lekkas & Melissa Sgambati