Lavazza Italian Film Festival
Where: Palace Cinemas including Kino
When: Until October 9
Call: 9817 6421
Preview: Stephen A Russell
Like a sleek, shiny Vespa zipping round the chaotic streets of Rome, the Lavazza Italian Film Festival cruised into town last night for a chic three week stay. Elysia Zeccola Hill, the festival director, has put together a fantastic offering for its 13th outing, ensuring there’ll be no bad luck, only buona fortuna.
You can catch last night’s opening foray, Welcome to the North, several times during the run. The quirkily comic follow-up to last year’s festival starter Welcome to the South, directed by Luca Miniero, follows hapless postie Alberto (Claudio Bisio) who finally scores the promotion he’s been after and is transferred home to Milan. It’s not too long before laidback colleague Mattia (Alessandro Siani) follows suit.
Another highlight, Caesar Must Die (pictured above), scored the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. Directed by renowned brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, it casts real inmates of maximum security prison Rebibbia as they rehearse for a staging of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Before long, the fictional violence of the play bleeds into the prisoners’ relations.
The Entrepreneur wiped the floor at this year’s Italian Golden Globes, scooping Best Film, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score and the Special Jury Award. Directed by Giuliano Montaldo, it depicts the struggle of a factory owner fighting to save his business from bankruptcy while refusing to cave into his pride and accept help from his rich architect wife. Throw in a secret affair and things take a turn for the nasty.
Andrea Segre’s debut feature Shun Li and the Poet depicts the compelling tale of shy a Chinese immigrant who forms an unlikely friendship with older Slavic fisherman Bepi. As the outsiders bond over a mutual love of poetry, racial tensions erupt in the remote community on the Venetian lagoon.
Doco lovers can get stuck into the mystery of The Lost World Cup, examining the almost mythical rumours of an alternate competition supposedly staged in South America to replace the 1942 competition lost to World War II. Italian soccer legend Roberto Biaggio commentates alongside Brazilian João Havelange and Englishman Gary Lineker.
And for the finale, New York’s finest neurotic auteur Woody Allen delivers his paean to the Eternal City, To Rome with Love, starring himself with Penélope Cruz and Roberto Benigni. Here’s hoping it lives up to his other great European love story Midnight in Paris.