Well from a historical perspective, the Italians embraced cinema very early, in fact, they jumped right in just months after the famous Lumière brothers patented their filming technique (called Cinematographe) and filmed the incumbent pope while he blessed the camera, no less.
So with a papal blessing and a rich opera/storytelling tradition, this nation with a whole lotta passion and style embraced cinema and brought it to the people very early. Every little village had its own cinema. And look what they produced by way of filmmakers: Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, Sergio Leone, Bernardo Bertolucci, Franco Zeffirelli, Lina Wertmüller and Luchino Visconti to name a few of the great directors of Italian cinema.
And then we have Ennio Morricone, who, as one of the world's most successful writer of film soundtracks, has scores to classics like The Good, The Bad & the Ugly, The Untouchables, The Mission and Once Upon a Time in America to his credit. Then there are the gems of films themselves like Cinema Paradiso, The Bicycle Thieves, La Dolce Vita etc, without which the world would be a poorer place indeed.
So what's in store for us this year?
Well, the old north-south divide that exists in so many countries around the world, including Italy, is further explored in the answer to the popular Welcome to the South we saw last year, in the form of – you guessed it – Welcome to the North. It was a winning formula and with the same cast and crew and some awards up its sleeve, it is bound to be funny and popular.
courtesy 2012 Lavazza Italian Film Festival
Surprisingly, a Woody Allen film is included in this year's line-up with his To Rome with Love, described as "an ode to the Eternal City". With actors like Judy Davis, Penélope Cruz and Woody Allen himself, it should be interesting!