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:: Spotlight :: 2012 Lavazza Italian Film Festival

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Indulge your senses at the 13th annual LAVAZZA ITALIAN FILM FESTIVAL presented by Palace Cinemas with the proud support of Lavazza, the ‘numero uno’ authentic Italian coffee of connoisseurs, the world-over. The Festival, like Lavazza, continues to encapsulate the spirit of Italy with a thrilling program of over 30 award-winning, critically acclaimed features and includes highlights from internationally revered film forums, including Cannes, Sundance and Berlin, Rome and Venice.

For lovers of quality European cinema, the Festival also provides an opportunity to experience films from famed directors such as Marco Tullio Giordano, Pupi Avati, the Taviani brothers, Paolo Genovese, Ferzan Ozpetek and Emanuele Crialese, that might otherwise not be seen on these shores. And with performances from many of Italy’s finest actors, from Asia Argento, Raoul Bova, Valentina Lodovini, Carlo Verdone, Pier Francesco Favino, Claudio Santamaria and Pierfrancesco Favino to Carolina Crescentini, Barbora Bobulova, Valeria Golino, Margherita Buy, Isabella Ragonese and Luigi Lo Cascio, these are films not to be missed!

In response to popular demand, this year’s Festival will include a host of special events incorporating live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, cocktails, gourmet delicacies, wine tastings along with the Festival’s romantically indulgent opening and closing night celebrations. WELCOME TO THE NORTH, the eagerly anticipated sequel to last year’s hit-comedy, WELCOME TO THE SOUTH, will launch the 2012 Festival, whilst Woody Allen’s latest movie, TO ROME WITH LOVE, starring Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis and Roberto Benigni, has been selected for closing night in Sydney and Melbourne and will screen courtesy of Hopscotch Films. A FLAT FOR THREE, the latest comedy from beloved Italian actor Carlo Verdone, will close the Festival in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane audiences will also be treated to Porte dell’Inferno – the Fevered Cinema of Lucio Fulci, a Festival retrospective presented by Cult Vault showcasing the popularly referred to Gates of Hell Trilogy from the late Lucio Fulci, fondly known to horror-movie buffs as Italy’s “Godfather of Gore”.

Selected highlights of the 2012 programme include:

CAESAR MUST DIE directed by Paolo Taviani & Vittorio Taviani
Starring Salvatore Striano, Cosimo Rega & Giovanni Arcuri
Winner of the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, the story follows the inmates of the high-security Rebibbia prison as they rehearse for a performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. As the rehearsal process infiltrates the daily lives of the inmates, suppressed tensions slowly start to surface.

DOWN THERE: A CRIMINAL EDUCATION directed by Guido Lombardi
Starring Kadser Alassane, Esther Elisha and Moussa Mone
Winner of the Luigi De Laurentis Award for a Debut Film at Venice and winner of the 26th International Critics' Week Kino Audience Award, this is the moving story of Yussouf, an aspiring artist, who arrives in southern Italy full of hope, only to find he is just another African immigrant struggling for survival.

ISLANDS directed by Stefano Chiantini
Starring Asia Argento, Ivan Franek, Giorgio Colangeli and Anna Fernuzzo
An eastern European bricklayer seeking work, is befriended by a young woman who has retreated into silence in this engrossing drama set against the haunting backdrop of the Tremiti Islands.

KRYPTONITE! Directed by Ivan Cotroneo
Starring Valeria Golino, Luca Zingaretti & Cristiana Capotondi
It’s 1970s Naples and bullied, nine year-old Peppino is watching the world around him as his extended dysfunctional family change. With Italian versions of period classic songs, and all the colours of peace and love amid the city’s backstreets, this is a fresh, tender and funny tale exploring love, diversity and dreams.

MAGNIFICENT PRESENCE directed by Ferzan Ozpetek
Starring Elio Germano, Margherita Buy, Vittoria Puccini Giuseppe Fiorello and Andrea Bosca
A critically acclaimed ghost tale, about Pietro, a lonely, aspiring actor, struggling to accept his homosexuality, who discovers that the grand old Roman house he has purchased is occupied by a ghostly 1940s vaudevillian troupe. Initially terrified, Pietro slowly begins to value and accept his ‘new’ friends.

PIAZZA FONTANA: THE ITALIAN CONSPIRACY directed by Marco Tullio Giordana
Starring Valerio Mastrandrea, Pierfrancesco Favino, Michela Crescon, Laura Chiatto & Luigi Lo Cascio.
This impressive Machiavellian drama dissects the Piazza Fontana bombing, highlighting the cynical manipulations and tragic consequences of the event and subsequent investigations.

REALITY directed by Matteo Garrrone
Starring Aniello Arena, Loredana Simioli, Nando Paone & Lello Ferrante
Matteo Garrone, whose acclaimed earlier film GOMORRAH also won the Grand Prix at Cannes four years ago, took out the Grand Prix again this year with this biting satire on reality television and Italian culture.

SHUN LI AND THE POET Directed by Andrea Segre
Starring Tao Zhao, Rade Serbedzjia and Marco Paolini
In this multi award-winning drama, two lonely people from different cultural backgrounds form an innocent friendship, which sparks the all too familiar forces of hate prejudice and paranoia from those around them.

TERRAFERMA directed by Emanuele Crialese
Starring Filippo Pucillo, Donatella Finocchiaro, Mimmo Cuticchio & Claudio Santamaria
Set amidst a community on a small fishing island near Sicily, this critically lauded, suspenseful drama tells the story of a broken family confronting great changes as they try to survive.

THE BIG HEART OF GIRLS directed by Pupi Avati
Starring Cesare Cremonini, Micaela Ramazzotti & Gianni Cavina
A delicate tragicomedy of love, compromise and the role of women, set in Mussolini’s Fascist Italy of the 1930s, inspired by the story of famed director, Pupi Avati’s own grandparents.

THE ENTREPENEUR directed by Guiliano Montaldo
Starring Pierfrancesco Favino and Carolina Crescentini
This multi-award winning drama tells the story of factory owner Nicola Ranieri, whose pride has caused emotional heartache and taken him to the brink of ruin.

The LAVAZZA ITALIAN FILM FESTIVAL will screen at 14 Palace locations around the country as follows:

- MELBOURNE: 19 Sept to 9 Oct
Palace Cinema Como – Palace Balwyn – Palace Brighton Bay – Kino Cinemas – Palace Westgarth

- SYDNEY: 20 Sept to 10 Oct
Palace Norton Street – Palace Verona – Chauvel Cinema

- BRISBANE: 3 to 21 Oct
Palace Barracks – Palace Centro

- PERTH: 11 to 24 Oct
Cinema Paradiso – Luna on SX

- ADELAIDE: 11 to 28 Oct
Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas

- CANBERRA: 28 Nov to 12 Dec
Palace Electric Cinema

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Photos from Opening Night in Melbourne here

For more information, visit

www.italianfilmfestival.com.au