We love our slice of la dolce vita in Melbourne thanks to our Italian friends and neighbours, without whom we'll be bereft of our famed coffee culture, Italian-style wines and good food. Thanks to Palace Cinemas, we can also experience Italy's culture without leaving Australia. Their much anticipated 15th Lavazza Italian Film Festival is finally here in Melbourne with screenings from 17 September to 12 October 2014.
Antonio, Elysia, Stephanie and Benjamin Zeccola with Nadir Caselli (centre) / Photo courtesy of Lavazza Italian Film Festival
Festival Director Elysia Zeccola-Hill has curated a wide selection of top notch films from Italy and brought them back to share with local fans and movie-goers. She's even brought one of Italy's screen goddesses, Nadir Caselli, to open the Festival both here and in Sydney. This year's line up includes 35 show-stopping new features and documentaries and one glamorous classic. Here are some festival highlights to keep you glued to the cinema screen for the next few weeks.
MARINA / Photo courtesy of Lavazza Italian Film Festival
MARINA - This nostalgic film tells the true story of one of Italy's beloved singer, songwriter and accordionist. It follows Rocco Granata's early life as an immigrant in Belgium and his rise to fame as a global musical phenomenon. Rocco's 1959 song 'Marina' was one of the biggest international hits of that era. This uplifting film with actor Matteo Simoni as Granata will leave you with a spring in your step.
SONG OF NAPOLI / Photo courtesy of Lavazza Italian Film Festival
SONG OF NAPOLI (Song'e Napule) - L'aperitivo di Peroni and Enoteca Sileno present a special event on 24 September alongside the screening of this film at Palace Westgarth. 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 6.15pm with live entertainment Napoletano-style, drinks from Peroni and Enoteca Sileno, a salami tasting plate from the Melbourne Salami Festa and Saluministi.
MARRIAGE ITALIAN STYLE / Photo courtesy of Lavazza Italian Film Festival
MARRIAGE ITALIAN STYLE (Matrimonio all'italiana) - Cited by New York Times as one of the dandiest films in 1964, this Oscar-nominated classic returns to the Palace Cinema screens for the Lavazza Italian Film Festival. 50 years after its first release, MARRIAGE ITALIAN STYLE was digitally restored and premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Now everyone in Melbourne can enjoy this timeless comedy starring the famed Sophia Loren.
THE TASTE OF YOU / Photo courtesy of Lavazza Italian Film Festival
THE TASTE OF YOU (Sapore Di Te) - Rail Europe Presents a special event and screening of this comedy at Kino Cinemas on 2 October. Set in the picturesque seatown of Forte dei Marmi during the mid-1980s, the soapy romcom revolves around relationships of families and friends during their multiple summer holidays together. Think Melrose Place meet Baywatch. You can enjoy a pre-film reception at 6pm with live entertainment, drinks from Enoteca Sileno and Peroni, food by DOC and gift packs (valued at $20) by MOR.
ELEMENTARY LOVES / Photo courtesy of Lavazza Italian Film Festival
ELEMENTARY LOVES (Amori elementari) - Not all movies at the Festival are just for adults. This tender and funny movie is great for bambinis and school groups. ELEMENTARY LOVES tells of 3 love stories that revolve around 6 friends in the 6th grade, including the first kiss, a hockey tournament, an imaginary friend that has to fly to the moon, an amulet to be rescued and an escape to Russia.
If you're looking for a great way to brush up on your knowledge of Italian culture and enjoy some of Italy's favourite coffee from Lavazza, then this is your chance. For the best of cinema Italiano, check out the Lavazza Italian Film Festival taking place now at a Palace Cinema near you.