As ever, here are the highlights of the Italian Film Festibule showing in a city near you with Melbourne times in the timetable below. There are even some five star movies. That’s right five out of five, which is ten out of ten when you think about it in a sufficiently abstract fashion. These are films that cannot be improved upon. Tony Abbott confessed earlier today that, not being a God, he can be improved upon. That is not like these films – at least in the opinion of those who gave them five out of five.
Luciano, the eldest of the three Carbone brothers, has turned his back on the drug operation that provided the family’s stature and wealth. Having washed his hands of the family, he now seeks a simple life with his wife and 20-year-old son Leo raising goats in their ancestral town of Africo in the Calabrian hills. The problem is that the bored and restless son Leo idolises his two charismatic big-shot uncles who are still deeply involved in the narcotics trade and is determined to make his mark. One night young Leo’s impulsive reaction to a trivial argument changes the course of all their lives, pulling all three brothers into a simmering feud that threatens to explode.
It’s the last weekend together for three men and two women who for years have studied and lived in the same house in Pisa. University is over and each of them is about to embark on a new path: some will stay in Pisa, some will return home to their parents, and some will move to another city or even country. That protected period of their life in which infinite opportunities awaited them, is fading away-now is the time for decisions and responsibility: love or a well-paid job? Have a child or wait for better circumstances? Follow your dreams or be happy with whatever comes your way? Once thing is certain: their carefree university days are over and nothing will ever be the same again.
Diego, Fausto and Claudio are three down-on-their luck men. When they meet by chance looking at a property in the country none of them are able to afford, the three men decide to combine forces and risk everything to start a Bed and Breakfast. They invest everything they have, physically and mentally, into the project, but the financial pressures mount and are made even more stressful with the local mafia demanding regular payments and threatening to suffocate their venture! It seems that only a miracle will bring them back on track. Indeed, the miracle they need arrives in the most unlikely of forms. But is it enough?
Fresh from its official selection at Cannes Film Festival, director Matteo Garrone delivers his first Englishlanguage feature with this unmissable festival experience: a triptych of fairy tales for adults inspired by the stories of Neapolitan poet Giambattista Basile, centering on the rulers of three neighbouring kingdoms put to the test when magic enters the picture. The result is a delicious dream-like visual feast brimming with imagination and mischief featuring an all-star cast as royals headed by Salma Hayek, Toby Jones, Vincent Cassel and John C. Reilly. A serpent’s heart, a giant flea, a world where sweet dreams quickly curdle to swirling nightmares, Garrone cuts between the three strands as he delves into the world of kings, queens and ogres. These gory and gorgeously shot stories are not for the faint hearted as they delve into the depths of the human psyche and explode with luxuriant colours, elaborate costumes and fantasy décor, accompanied by the Baroque architecture of Sicily, Apulia and Lazio.
A Major arrives with bad news for a group of bedraggled soldiers in a bunker on the North-eastern front, close to the Austrian trenches. So close, in fact, that when a Neapolitan soldier stands on a hill at night singing piercing love songs, both armies can hear. The outpost is buried in deep snow and the dirty, sickly men are forced to sleep on boards in the freezing cold. The Major’s instructions for a senseless suicide mission causes an unthinkable face-off. The tension rises palpably sceneby-scene in this work made with devastating simplicity and painful realism; a poignant memorial to Italian soldiers.
Based on Kevin Macdonald’s concept for “Life in a Day,” Oscar-winning director Gabriele Salvatores has created a touching mosaic of life in Italy during one day; October 26th, 2013. Italians were asked to record and send in videos via their smartphones or video cameras. The result is a collage of 632 videos selected among the 44,197 sent from all over Italy exposing everyday Italians’ hopes and fears. This experiment portrays Italy through the eyes of Italians, going inside their homes and letting them decide what to show and share. The engaging insights range from the birth of a child to the breathtaking eruption of the Mount Etna volcano all the way to the view of Earth from an Italian Astronaut’s space shuttle.
The life-altering friendship between an extraordinary dog named Italo and one lonely child is depicted in this charming tale for all ages which is based on a true story. In 2009 the Sicilian town of Scicli embarks on a campaign against stray dogs and so the town is outraged when a lovable golden-haired mongrel wanders in and is befriended by Meno, a wise and introverted 10 year-old boy. Since the passing of his mother, Meno has shut everyone out, including his workaholic father. It will take the unconditional love of a special friend like Italo to force Meno out of his shell, leading him into a series of adventures that will teach him the difference between acting like a grown up and actually becoming one, and teach the entire town the lesson of a lifetime.
Italy’s industrial miracles of the twentieth century are explored in Davide Ferrario’s insightful documentary that combines an impressive range of 100 years of archival footage with literary texts to thought provoking effect. Material shot by famous Italian directors such as Ermanno Olmi and Dino Risi, is merged with the work of poets and writers such as Dino Buzzati, Italo Calvino, and the assassinated Pier Paolo Pasolini, to create an astounding metaphor about the utopia of industrial and technological progress as the solution to humanity’s problems. The title of the film is an expression used by Dino Buzzati in a 1964 documentary to describe the production of steel in the furnaces of Taranto, or more specifically, the mass that is created by steel melting. As centuries-old olive groves fell under the weight of machines and enormous factories, this was a time when the utopia of progress was accepted by all living in the illusion of prosperity and a “better future”.
Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1970 Oscar nominated masterpiece will close the 2015 Lavazza Italian Film Festival in truly visually intoxicating art deco style. A political thriller set in Mussolini’s Italy, The Conformist is an incisive portrait of the self-loathing, repressed Marcello who is drawn to Fascism. Aching to fit in in 1938 Rome, he is despatched to Paris to murder his former, anti-fascist college professor. A furious energy is contained in the film’s truly unforgettable scenes: a wedding night on a train, Marcello’s wife Stefania Sandrelli and her lover Dominique Sanda dancing the tango, a limousine ambushed in a wintry forest. Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro’s lens transforms every street and room into a catalytic baroqueness and decadence, resulting in a bludgeoning indictment and critique of politics and class.
Melbourne Schedule Table