Lavazza Italian Film Festival 2010

Savour all the glamour, passion, drama and artistry of Italian cinema when the Lavazza Italian Film Festival presented by Palace Cinemas, hits capital cities around Australia this September and October.

Now in its 11th year, the Lavazza Italian Film Festival 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.

Sponsors of this year’s event include Lavazza, Alfa Romeo, Brown Brothers, Connoisseur, Peroni, Fendi, Zafarelli, Limoncé, Frangelico, Global Forwarding, SBS TV and World Movies.

Following are some highlights of the festival...

La Nostra Vita
Daniele Luchetti's acute snapshot of contemporary Italy, LA NOSTRA VITA screened in competition at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival where Elio Germano collected the coveted Best Actor award for his unvarnished portrayal of an ambitious working-class man who is full of life and not entirely honest. This is a must-see Festival highlight.

Elio Germano (As God Commands, IFF09), one of Italy's top young actors, plays Claudio, a construction worker living on the outskirts of Rome with a wife (Isabella Ragonese, Her Whole Life Ahead, IFF08) he adores, two small kids and a third on the way. When a tragedy befalls the family, Claudio leans on his boss, Porcari (Giorgio Colangeli), to give him his own construction site to supervise. In exchange, Claudio will keep a secret Porcari is covering up.

The star-studded cast also includes Luca Zingaretti (from the popular Inspector Montalbano series) as a drug-dealing neighbour and Raoul Bova, one of Italy's most exportable heart-throbs who is perfectly cast as Claudio's brother, and is unexpectedly moving as a handsome but introverted bachelor. Luchetti's wisely made human drama explores some of Italy's most topical issues, punctuated by songs from Italian rock great and working-class hero Vasco Rossi.

Bets & Wedding Dresses
Vincenzo Terracciano's moving drama BETS & WEDDING DRESSES stars Sergio Castellitto (The Wedding Director IFF06) in the role of a loving father who is charged with the responsibility of securing a bank loan to finance his daughter's upcoming wedding, but then cannot admit to his family that the bank has turned him down.

Franco Campanella (sensitively played by Sergio Castellitto) is a former post office worker married to German-born Josephine (Martina Gedeck, The Baader Meinhof Complex). More than anything else, Franco is a gambler and he frequents the dingiest corners of Naples to bet on horses, play poker, roulette and "zecchinetta". Despite the trouble his debts have caused over the years and the disapproval of his family, he has managed to maintain a precarious balance… until now. For the Campanella family, and in particular for Josephine, Luisa's wedding has to be perfect as it is the day of their social redemption. But Franco, desperate to make his daughter's dreams come true, can see only one path, certain that fate - this time - will be on his side…

Terracciano's sincere direction of Castellitto, who is widely regarded as one of Italy's best actors, achieves a superbly restrained and heart-felt performance.

The Man Who Will Come
Winner of the Best Film Award at the David Di Donotello (Italian Academy) Awards 2010 and Rome's Grand Jury Prize as well as the Audience Award, THE MAN WHO WILL COME is a powerful and engrossing drama based on the World War II tragedy known as the Marzabotto Massacre, which confirms director and co-writer Giorgio Diritti as a major filmmaker in contemporary Italian cinema.

Winter, 1943. Martina (Greta Zuccheri Montanari), is a wide-eyed 8-year-old who hasn't spoken since her baby brother died in her arms. Now her mother, Lena (Maya Sansa), is pregnant again, and Martina looks forward to the new arrival. But 1943-44 is a difficult period, and Lena and her husband, Armando (Claudio Casadio), along with the other peasants, struggle to feed themselves and the families who've fled the city and are lodging in their spare rooms. Armando's sister (Alba Rohrwacher) has spent time in the city herself, adopting ways that grate on her mother (Maria Grazia Naldi). Meanwhile, the villagers struggle to lead a semi-normal life while debating how much assistance to give the partisans with the impending arrival of the Germans.

Early in his career, Diritti worked with Ermanno Olmi, and he tips his cap to his mentor by evocatively capturing village life in the countryside around Bologna with lyrical simplicity and austerely beautiful images.

What More Do I Want?
Two people unhappy in their relationships turn to one another in this handsome relationship drama from acclaimed filmmaker Silvio Soldini (Days and Clouds, IFF08) which screened in the Berlinale Special section at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival.

Anna (prominent thespian Alba Rohrwacher, I Am Love) is a woman in her early thirties who works as an accountant at a large insurance firm. She lives with her long-time boyfriend Alessio (Giuseppe Battiston), a nice guy who thinks they should settle down and have a child. Anna, on the other hand, feels like the excitement has gone out of their relationship and when she meets Domenico (Pierfrancesco Favino) in her office, it isn't long before their clandestine chemistry turns into a fully fledged affair even though Domenico confesses to having a wife and two kids at home. The illicit lovers meet once a week for a few hours in a cheap motel, but soon it's not enough for Anna, who becomes increasingly needy.

Alba Rohrwacher, who also stars in IFF10 highlight The Man Who Will Come, delivers a beautifully nuanced performance as a woman who is afraid to take responsibility for her future once and for all.

Lavazza Italian 2010 Film Festival
Dates and Venues:

22/09 – 10/10/10 Palace Cinema Como, Brighton Bay, Kino Cinemas, Balwyn, and Westgarth
Sydney  23/09 – 10/10/10 Palace Norton Street and Verona
Brisbane  06–24/10/10 Palace Barracks and Centro
07–17/10/10 Ark Cinema, Manuka
13–27/10/10 Palace Nova Eastend Cinema
14–28/10/10 Cinema Paradiso

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