TOP 5 Lavazza Italian Film Festival Picks
If you’re suffering Post-Holiday Italian Summer Blues, or didn’t get a chance to visit Italy at all, then head to the Lavazza Italian Film Festival and experience La Dolce Vita right here in Perth. This year’s line-up has something for everyone from tear jerking biopics, to endearing documentaries, hilarious romantic comedies and offers a rare chance to see Italian classic, La Vita E’ Bella on the big screen. As this year’s WA Youth Ambassador, I’ve been lucky enough to see most of this year’s films and with much difficulty, narrowed down a list of my top 5. And for your chance to win a double in-season pass to this year’s festival email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your postal address and tell me what you love most about Italy.
Director: Gianluca Ansanelli
Starring: Serena Rossi, Gennaro Guazzo, Luigi Esposito
Plot: 11 year old Ciro is the love child of a famous Italian rock star who enrols him into a fancy private school. Ciro doesn’t fit in with his vain classmates and feels more at home in the poor area of Naples where he lives with his doting single mother, Barbara.
But Ciro’s life changes when he falls in love with his sophisticated classmate Ludovica. Lovesick, Ciro loses his appetite to the horror of his mother who enlists him to see a psychologist, Tomasso. Determined to win over Ludovica and seeing a potential romance between his mother and Tomasso, Ciro makes a deal that if Tomasso, can help him win over Ludovica, he’ll teach Tomasso how to be a true Neapolitan to win over his mother.
Consensus: Gianluca Ansanelli’s hilarious romantic comedy, celebrates love among all ages and is in itself a love letter to Ansanelli’s own birth city Naples, the home of pizza, pasta fazu and as Dean Martin famously crooned – amore (love). The slapstick comedy and hilarious cast of characters will keep the young ones entertained, while older viewers will be able to appreciate the stunning scenery and the punchy one-liners.
Warning: You’ll be wanting to book your trip to Naples as soon as possibile!
Director: Lisa Azuelos
Starring: Sveva Alviti, Riccardo Scamarcio, Jean-Paul Rouve
Plot: From the outside looking in, Dalida, one of Italy’s most beloved and successful Disco Pop star’s had the world at her feet. But behind the glitz, glamour, accolades and success, Dalida’s life was nothing but tumultuous.
Lisa Azuelos’ glamorous biopic, follows Dalida’s difficult childhood in Egypt, to her rise to pop superstardom, her string of failed relationships, and ultimately her tragic and untimely death.
Consensus: Like Dalida herself, Liza Azuelos’ biopic is glamorous, sophisticated and irresistible, with stunning costumes, lavish musical numbers and brilliant performances. Italian model-turned actress Sveva Alviti is a dead ringer for the ill-fated singer and effortlessly brings her to life. Riccardo Scamarcio is brilliant as usual as Dalida’s brother Orlando.
While the film focuses on the many tragedies in Dalida’s life, it is also a celebration of the iconic singer’s astounding career and her contribution to the world music scene. To get you in the party mood Cinema Paradiso are hosting a special Dalida screening event on Wednesday October 4, complete with live music and Limoncello DI Capri cocktails. Book Your Tickets Now.
Warning: Dalida’s infectious tunes will be stuck in your head for days to come.
Director: Sergio Castellitto
Starring: Jasmine Trinca, Stefano Accorsi, Alessandro Borghi.
Plot: Fortunata, whose name ironically translates to Lucky, has not been dealt the fairest cards in life. Left as an orphan from a young age and a failed marriage behind her, Fortunata struggles to make ends meet and dreams of one day winning the lottery and opening her own salon with her best friend and confidant, Chicano.
Complications ensure when her sleazy ex-husband announces he is contesting for custody of their child and a court order places her child in therapy. But a chance encounter with the compassionate Dr. Patrizio, has the potential to turn things around and convince Fortunata, luck could finally be on her side.
Consensus: Forutnata is one of those special films that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. It is deeply moving, at times heartbreaking and also endearing. Trinca delivers a powerhouse performance as a struggling single mother, and despite her flaws you can’t help but root for her. Trinca and Accorsi light up the screen together with their undeniable chemistry and Borghi delivers a truly heartbreaking performance that will stay with you long after the film.
Warning: Bring some tissues along.
Director: Simone Godano
Starring: Kasia Smutniak, Pierfrancesco Favino, Andrea Bruschi.
Plot: Neurosurgeon Andrea and his ambitious TV host wife, Sofia are on the brink of divorce. But when they both trial one of Andreas’ latest experiments, they find themselves trapped in each other’s bodies. As they hilariously try to navigate their parent’s everyday routine, they are able to see their relationship from a completely different point of view.
Consensus: To be honest I was not expecting much from this Freay Friday Italian style comedy, but I was pleasantly surprised and cannot remember the last time I laughed this much during a film. Favino and Smutniak are both well known for their more serious roles, but the two perfect mimic each other’s mannerisms. While there have been plenty of body swap films, few have featured a swap between two different genders, and the situations the duo encounter are absolutely hilarious. Despite the many comedic moments the film also has plenty of heart.
Warning: Don’t bring Nonna along to this one!
Director: Roberto Benigni
Starring: Roberto Benigni Nicoletta Braschi and Giorgio Cantarini.
Plot: Academy Award winner Roberto Benigni plays Guido a charming Jewish man, who falls instantly love with the beautiful Dora. To the dismay of Dora’s mother Guido and Dora marry and years later have a son, Giosue. But their happy family is torn apart when the German’s arrive in their hometown. Separated from Dora; Guido and Giosue are sent to a concentration camp, where despite the hardships they endure Guido constantly looks at new ways to protect his son’s innocence and shield him from the brutality of the war.
Consensus: Winner of three Academy Awards including Best Actor and Best Foreign Language Film, Life is Beautiful is one of Italian Cinema’s most celebrated and iconic films. Part romantic comedy and part bitter-sweet war drama, Life is Beautiful will have you laughing in stiches and sobbing long after the credits roll. Benigni, Italy’s King of Slapstick comedy is a comedic genius as Guido and delivers one of Italian Cinema’s most memorable and beloved performances. The film boasts an incredible score and a relevant message for today’s audience that despite all that is happening in the world, la vita e’ bella.
As this year’s closing night film, Cinema Paradiso and Luna on SX are hosting a special screening. Enjoy Campari Aperol Spritz and Connoissuer Gourmet Ice Cream. Book your tickets Here.
Let me know what film you plan on seeing in the comments below or what your favourite Italian film of all time is.