This is the time of the year when Australia really goes Italian; and by that I don’t mean we suck up more strands of spaghetti into our mouths and pile up the pizza, washed down with Sambuca, Aperol or Peroni beers. No, no, no, this is when the best Italian films of the previous year or so hit the big screens in the big cities, and we say benvenuto to the Italian Film Festival.
Like the other foreign language film festivals in Australia, which I cover regularly on this blog, the Italian festival has been growing in in popularity each year since its inception in 2000. Back then, it offered 16 features; this year, by my count, there are 38.
The festival has been running in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra for more than a week, and only just started in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, but carries over into the first half of October, when it starts in Hobart (details at bottom).
So far I have seen only one film, BOYS CRY (La Terra Dell’Abbastanza), a gripping drama in which two young men played by Andrea Carpenzano (above, left) and Matteo Olivetti (right) are drawn into Rome’s criminal underworld and gang warfare. The more they get drawn in, the harder it is to get out.
I’m planning on going on a big binge of Italian cinema in coming days, and while there are other dramas I’d like to see, usually I go for the comedies. Here are some that look promising.
MY BIG GAY ITALIAN WEDDING (Puoi baciare lo sposo) – based on a hit play, this is described as a “chaotic, heart-warming trip to the altar” as a young man travels to his conservative hometown (where his conservative father is the mayor) to marry his big bear of a fiancé. Expect some disgruntled growling from the mayoral offices!
PUT NONNA IN THE FREEZER (Metti La Nonna In Freezer). When her grandmother dies, a young woman has to put her in the freezer, so to speak, to receive her nonna’s pension and make ends meet. Then a cop enters her life and “amidst ingenious deceptions, disguises and misunderstandings, the young woman’s scam will begin to melt like a frozen grandmother in the sun”.
LOVE & BULLETS (Ammore e Malavita) won the Best Film at the Italian Academy Awards and many other international awards. It’s described as a “hugely entertaining mafia musical” involving a family of schemers whose latest plan is jeopardised by true love.
WHERE AND WHEN
- Sydney: 11 Sept – 7 Oct, Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinemas, Palace Central
- Canberra: 12 Sept – 7 Oct, Palace Electric Cinemas
- Melbourne: 13 Sept – 7 Oct, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Westgarth, Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Kino Cinemas, The Astor Theatre
- Brisbane: 19 Sept – 14 Oct, Palace Barracks, Palace Centro
- Adelaide: 19 Sept – 14 Oct, Palace Nova Eastend, Palace Nova Prospect
- Perth: 20 Sept – 10 Oct, Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX
- Hobart: 18 Oct – 24 Oct, The State Cinema