Love Italy? The scenery, the language, the culture? If so, rejoice, for the first ever Cinema Italiano Festival NZ is coming our way, bearing an exciting selection of almost 20 Italian features, as well as 2 New Zealand films with an Italian connection.
It’s a heartwarming turnaround for Kiwi Italophiles, who just last year were mourning the demise of the Italian Film Festival, after a 19-year-run.
Enter Paolo Rotondo to the rescue. It is in fact thanks to the considerable efforts of the Kiwi-Italian actor, director and playwright that this new celebration of Italian cinema is gracing silver screens throughout the country.
Christchurch will host the Cinema Italiano Festival from 15 to 25 June and we are very lucky to have two double passes to give away to our readers for any screening following the opening night. There is something guaranteed to please all tastes, with features spanning from drama to rom-com to documentary.
My personal, rather uninformed, picks?
- Wondrous Boccaccio, because it promises a stunning setting – castles, towers and medieval ruins in Tuscany and Lazio – while serving up a dose of historical comic drama. Plus you get Literature with a capital L: the film is based on Boccaccio’s The Decameron, which is one of the classic masterpieces of Italian literature. (Boccaccio has arguably been described as the Italian Chaucer, though it would be more accurate to describe Chaucer as the English Boccaccio).
- The Mafia Kills Only In Summer: it was a huge sleeper hit in Italy in 2014, and who can resist such a catchy title?
- The Wonders: the synopsis says it all. “Winner of the Grand Prix Award at Cannes, Le Meraviglie / The Wonders is a poignant semi-autobiographical coming of age story set in the countryside of Umbria. An ecological film where a back-to-nature lifestyle wins out over the world of reality TV. A film charged by intimate performances, female camaraderie and stunning cinematography.”
- Zoran, My Nephew The Idiot, because it’s set in Friuli, on the border with Slovenia, a very different location from the stereotypical image of Italy.
- Orphans & Kingdoms: Paolo Rotondo’s directorial debut feature of worlds colliding on Waiheke Island has received great reviews and strikes close to home, while retaining Italian touches such as the musical score which was composed in Rome.
Entering the competition is easy but you have got to be quick to be in!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Cinema Italiano Festival competition” by 12pm on Friday 10 June. (Sorry, staff of Christchurch City Libraries and Christchurch City Council are not eligible to enter).
So uncork the spumante: the Italian Film Festival is dead – long live Cinema Italiano Festival NZ!