Inside Leonardo, director Jesus Garces Lambert, Dop Daniele Ciprì. The actors Luca Argentero and Angela Fontana plays Leonardo Da Vinci and Cecilia Gallerana Rome, september 2018

The Studio Italia/Italian Film Festival opens on Wednesday (25 November) at Event Cinemas in Havelock North and runs until Wednesday 9 December.

The unofficial theme of this year’s Festival is an exploration of the Italian male. Festival director Paolo Rotondo says he was interested in the ways Italian cinema both critiqued and celebrated the nature of the Italian male. “The films we have chosen deliver a fascinating insight, often from a female perspective.”

But rest assured, Paolo is adamant that the times of the Italian Machismo are over. Which is why the programme includes Sorrentini’s 2014 Oscar winner The Great Beauty, as well as 2018’s Loro, which documents the wild, wicked, utterly debauched lifestyle of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

“He’d throw the most expensive, vulgar parties in the world – called bunga bunga parties – and Putin and Gaddafi and Epstein would all attend. They were essentially extravagant orgies, super lavish and super demented. Both films emerge as razor-sharp satire in these volatile times.”

But there are quieter films too, lyrical films, comedies, dramas and a children’s film. Paolo says he can’t wait to see how Kiwi audiences enjoy the films chosen.

“This year we mark 500 years since Leonardo Da Vinci’s death and 500 years since Raffaello’s birth with spectacular big-screen documentaries. This year’s comedies will leave you laughing in the aisles but lingering in your thoughts days later. We will also introduce

New Zealand family audiences to the tradition of ‘La Befana’ the good Christmas witch.

“There’s a real sense of excitement amongst our audience about getting back to the cinemas,” he says, “and I do think we have something for everyone. Cinema can offer so many different experiences, but one thing is for sure – if you come to a Cinema Italiano film you will be either entertained, transported, or moved. You will certainly not be bored.”

The Festival’s opening night film is Croce e Delizia – An Almost Ordinary Summer – which tells the story of two families meeting for a marriage that neither wants, and then things taking a turn when the respective patriarchs fall in love …

Croce & Delizia, regia di Simone Godano, Direttore della fotografia Daniele Ciprì
Roma-Gaeta, ottobre-novembre 2018

Tickets are still available for opening night celebration – visit www.cinemaitalianonz.com to download the Festival programme and for booking details.

During the Italian Film Festival’s season, all things Italian are also being celebrated around the globe in ‘Italian Cuisine Week in the World’ (November 18 to 24). Buonissimo!

Top photo: Leonardo

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