While the Italian community residing in Brisbane is relatively smaller compared to Melbourne and Sydney, it hasn't stopped residents from celebrating Italian Week and Palace Cinemas from bringing the 15th Lavazza Italian Film Festival to its shores. From 1 to 22 October, locals can experience Italy's culture and enjoy a tasty slice of la dolce vita without leaving Australia.
Elysia Zeccola, Nadir Caselli and Genevieve Kelly / Photo courtesy of Lavazza Italian Film Festival
Festival Director Elysia Zeccola-Hill has curated a line up of 35 show-stopping new features and documentaries and one glamorous classic from Italy to share with local fans, movie goers and the Italian community. This year's grand opening in Melbourne and Sydney was also attended by Italian screen goddess, Nadir Caselli. Here are some festival highlights to keep you glued to the cinema screen throughout October.
MARINA / Photo courtesy of Lavazza Italian Film Festival
Marina - The Festival opens with a gala night and the premiere of 'Marina' on 1 October. This heart-warming film follows the real life story of a Calabrian coal miner's son, Granata. It charts his early life and rise to fame with the release of his 1959 song Marina, which became one of the biggest international hits of that era. Held at Palace Barracks, this special event include a pre-screening Lavazza coffee popcorn and gift bag valued at over $50. There is also an after-movie party with live entertainment, Italian treats by Bucci, drinks from Enoteca Sileno and Peroni and ice cream from Connoisseur Gourmet Ice Cream.
DARKER THAN MIDNIGHT / Photo courtesy of Lavazza Italian Film Festival
Darker Than Midnight - Directed by Sebastian Riso, the film is based in part on the life of drag artist Davide Cordova, who after a rough adolescence in Sicily, achieved fame on the Roman stage as the drag queen Fuxia. With his effeminate looks, Davide is different from other teenage boys.
Fleeing a brutish home life, his intuition leads him to take refuge in Villa Bellini, a park in Catania. Villa Bellini is a world in itself, populated by the marginalized, to which the rest of the city turns a blind eye. But one day the past encroaches on the present and Davide has to face the most difficult choice of his tender years. This evocative drama was screened in Critics' Week at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
THE WONDERS / Photo courtesy of Lavazza Italian Film Festival
The Wonders - Fans of Italian screen goddess Monica Bellucci will want to catch her performance in this original and impressionistic family drama. Directed by Alice Rohrwacher, the film about the onset of adulthood and the fading of old ways for a family of bee-keepers is inspired by the director's own childhood in the countryside between Umbria, Lazio and Tuscany. Don't miss this 2014 Cannes Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner.
SONG OF NAPOLI / Photo courtesy of Lavazza Italian Film Festival
Song of Napoli - L'aperitivo di Peroni and Enoteca Sileno present a special event on 8 October alongside the screening of this film at Palace Barracks. 'Song of Napoli' is a parody of modern-day Naples and its criminal underworld. The comedy revolves around a nerdy and exceptionally talented piano player, who is reluctantly enlisted to go undercover and help capture a Camorra boss. You can enjoy pre-film reception from 6pm with live entertainment Napoletano-style and drinks from Peroni and Enoteca Sileno. You will also have a chance to win a UOMO gift pack valued at over $200 from Ermenegildo Zegna.
THE FIFTH WHEEL / Photo courtesy of Lavazza Italian Film Festival
The Fifth Wheel - This irresistible romantic comedy revolves around a none-too-bright but goodhearted and honest middle-class male who experiences Italy's ups and downs for over 46 years. This Forrest Gump-like tale directed by Giovanni Veronesi brought a bit of positive thinking to a 2013 Italy plagued by economic woes.