Mangia bene, ridi spesso, ama molto. As they say in Italy, “eat well, laugh often, love much” as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Lavazza Italian Film Festival. Palace is also thrilled to be celebrating another important anniversary with Lavazza, the festival’s longstanding naming rights partner, who have been bringing the best Italian coffee to Palace Cinemas nationally for the last 16 years.
The 20th edition of the festival will showcase 26 of the best new Italian films from the last year as well as classic cinematic gems, Special Presentations, aperitivo nights, receptions and galas across screens in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart and Byron Bay from 17 September.
Festival Director Elysia Zeccola said, “For 20 years we have shared our love of cinema and Italian culture striving to present the best new films from Italy for film-lovers and Italophiles around the country. The best critically acclaimed and award-winning films share the spotlight with the biggest box office hits, creating an entertaining programme for audiences young and old.”
The first highlights offer a glimpse into the programme which celebrates Italian cinema, filmmakers and personalities at their very best:
The Australian premiere of Ron Howard’s highly anticipated biopic PAVAROTTI will close the festival nationally. Howard’s access-all-areas documentary looks back at the life, relationships and the remarkable performing career of the world’s most famous tenor who became an international superstar, from the early 1960s until his death.
Following his acclaimed drama Indivisible, director Edoardo De Angelis’ powerful and award-winning new film THE VICE OF HOPE (Il vizio della speranza) has been revealed this year’s Special Presentation selection. Starring Pina Turco (Gomorrah series) as a woman desperately striving to escape a life of vice and criminality, De Angelis’ masterfully creates another gritty tale from the Camorra-infested northern Neapolitan neighbourhood made famous by Dogman.
Italy’s best contemporary thrillers, dramas and a documentary will feature in the New Italian Cinema section featuring a star-studded who’s who of Italian talent:
Director Stefano Mordi’s taut thriller THE INVISIBLE WITNESS (Il testimone invisible) sees a slick businessman (Riccardo Scamarcio) employ an undefeated veteran attorney to prove his innocence after he wakes up next to his murdered mistress.
Marco Giallini and Valerio Mastandrea star in TOMORROW’S A NEW DAY (Domani è un altro giorno) – an exceptional remake of the award-winning Spanish-Argentinian favourite Truman, which follows a bittersweet reunion of two friends as they wander the streets of Rome to examine their lives and ponder the future.
From director Andrea Zaccariello comes the super stylish and absorbing murder mystery I’M NOT A KILLER (Non sono un assassino). Again, we see Italian cinema heavyweight Riccardo Scamarcio star alongside Alessio Boni (The Tourist, 2010) and Edoardo Pesce (Dogman, LIFF18).
Now, there wouldn’t be an Italian Film Festival without Comedy, Italian-Style! And these box office hits, won’t disappoint:
Winner of Best Comedy Film at the Nastri d’Argento Awards 2019, BANGLA, is a romantic comedy with a huge heart. Director Phaim Bhuiyan’s debut is a fresh and spirited portrait of the complications of young love caught between very different beliefs. With a script based on the director’s own experiences and a central character played by the director himself this is a cross-cultural rom-com set in Rome.
In LET ME INTRODUCE YOU TO SOFIA (Ti presento Sofia) a frazzled father finds himself in hot water as he tries to hide his daughter from his new girlfriend in this hilarious comedy-of-errors starring Fabio De Luigi and Micaela Ramazzotti.
ORDINARY HAPPINESS (Momenti di trascurabile felicità) is a humorous contemplation on life, in which director Daniele Luchetti (Those Happy Years) transforms the short stories of Francesco Piccolo into a charming metaphysical comedy starring Pierfrancesco “Pif” Diliberto (The Mafia Kills Only in Summer).
This year, the festival spotlights the greatest artists of Italian history with Films on Art: The Italian Masters, including: MICHELANGELO – ENDLESS, about the life and works of the incomparable genius Michelangelo Buonarroti, played by Enrico Lo Verso; and AMAZING LEONARDO, directed by Mexican helmer Jesus Garces Lambert, the high-end biopic marks the 500thanniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death. The film stars Italian A-lister Luca Argentero (Eat Pray Love) as the artist, scientist and inventor.
And what more could a 20th festival edition be punctuated with other than a tribute to the great Bernardo Bertolucci following his passing last November. The Retrospective includes 1900(Novecento), the 1976 historical drama featuring an international ensemble cast including Robert De Niro, Gérard Depardieu, Dominique Sanda and Donald Sutherland. The five-hour epic will screen with an intermission. The programme also showcases Bertolucci’s political thriller THE CONFORMIST (Il conformista) the visually intoxicating adaptation of Alberto Moravia’s novel about an upper-class follower of Mussolini which returns to the big screen in a restoration supervised by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro.
The Lavazza Italian Film Festival presented by Palace screens in the following locations:
Sydney: 17 Sept – 16 Oct, Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinemas, Palace Central
Melbourne: 19 Sept – 16 Oct, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Westgarth, Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Kino Cinemas, The Astor Theatre
Canberra: 24 Sept – 16 Oct, Palace Electric Cinemas
Brisbane: 25 Sept – 16 Oct, Palace Barracks and Palace James Street
Adelaide: 1 Oct – 23 Oct, Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas and Palace Nova Prospect Cinemas
Perth: 2 Oct – 16 Oct, Palace Cinema Paradiso and Luna on SX
Hobart: 17 Oct – 23 Oct, The State Cinema
Byron Bay: 26 Sept – 13 Oct, Palace Byron Bay
The full programme will be announced in August.