Italian films have come a long way since the 'spaghetti westerns' that were popular in the 1960s. As of 2014, 14 Academy Awards have been won for 'best foreign language film', the most of any country, along with 12 Palmes d'Or, the second most of any country. With a record like that, you know you're in for a treat at this 16th edition of the 2015 Lavazza Italian Film Festival presented by Palace and Lavazza, the naming rights partner.
With 32 titles filled with beauty and passion that is the heart of Italian cinema, come along and experience an exciting lineup of brand new comedies, gripping dramas, romantic tales, crime thrillers and engaging documentaries. You'll also venture into experimental and fantasy cinema this year. Couple 'cinema Italiano' with the ultimate Lavazza Italian espresso barista coffee served at all Palace Cinemas and you have a 'marriage made in Italian heaven'. Sit back, relax and enjoy!
Special guest, actor and director Luca Zingaretti.
For your convenience, here are the dates and cinemas for all states participating in this festival as well as the link for bookings.
NSW - Tue 15 September – Sun 11 October at Palace Verona, Palace Norton Street & Chauvel Cinema. CLICK HERE for tickets.
VIC - Wed 16 September – Sun 11 October at Palace Cinema Como, The Astor Theatre, Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Westgarth and The Kino Cinemas. CLICK HERE for tickets.
SA - Thu 17 September – Wed 07 October at Palace Nova Eastend. CLICK HERE for tickets.
ACT - Tue 22 September – Sun 11 October at Palace Electric. CLICK HERE for tickets.
WA - Thu 24 September – Wed 14 October at Cinema Paradiso and Luna on SX. CLICK HERE for tickets.
QLD - Thu 1 October – Sun 18 October at Palace Barracks & Palace Centro. CLICK HERE for tickets.
BYRON - Fri 18 September – Sun 26 September at Palace Byron Bay. CLICK HERE for tickets.
HOBART - Thu 15 September – Thu 21 October at State Cinema. CLICK HERE for tickets.
For ticket pricing in each state, CLICK HERE. If you're a film buff, you'll do well to save yourself some money by buying the multi-film tickets that include a 5, 10 and 20 film pass. You'll save even more if you're a Palace Movie Club Member. Keep in mind these special packs don't include special events or opening and closing night films.
God Willing is the 'opening night' gala event in all states as is The Conformist for 'closing night'. Special festival guest Luca Zingaretti will be in attendance in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. An actor and director, if you watch SBS, you'll probably recognise him as Commissario Salvo Montalbano in the much loved Inspector Montalbano series. Unfortunately, this special event is all sold out in all three states according to the Palace Cinema's website for each state. For dates and times of all other special events in your state CLICK HERE or go to the website.
The award winning box office smash hit God Willing on opening night is an 87 minute comedy about an atheist surgeon with a God complex, a charismatic priest and a dysfunctional family. All a conceited, proud and arrogant atheist surgeon needs is a son who wants to become a priest. Adding a wife and daughter who are going through a sort of rebirth themselves is just too much. A bag of hilarious situations arise when Tommaso the surgeon goes undercover to topple the charismatic priest whom he blames for the upheavals in his family. This film earned the Director Edoardo Falcone the 'Best New Director' award at the recent Italian Oscars.
The closing night film The Conformist is a 107 minute long Bernardo Bertoluccii Oscar nominated drama that has been digitally restored. This visually intoxicating art deco style political thriller is set in Mussolini's Italy. It's the portrait of a self-loathing repressed man who's drawn to Fascism. Wanting to fit in to 1938 Rome, he's sent to Paris to murder his former anti-fascist college professor. Filled with a furious energy, cinematographer Vittorio Storaro will draw you in through his lens and take you on a journey of unforgettable scenes.
The special event film Latin Lover is a 104 minute long comedy from acclaimed writer/director Cristina Comencini. It delves into the life and secrets of a great Italian star, the 'Latin lover', Saverio. One of Italy's most loved star of the golden era and a ladies' man, his five daughters from ranging relationships with five different women, mark the anniversary of his passing by gathering in his hometown. Together they try to put together the puzzle of the man they've only known as an icon.
This film was nominated for best actress, best costume design, best makeup and best hair design at the 2015 David di Donatello Awards and best comedy, best supporting actress and actor, best costume, best editing and best casting at the Nastro d'Argento Awards 2015. This was also the late International star Virna Lisi's final screen appearance. Hollywood found the new Marilyn Monroe in Lisi in the 60's and she debuted in a Hollywood comedy as a blue-eyed blonde temptress opposite Jack Lemmon in How to Murder Your Wife (1965). She also appeared with Tony Curtis in Not With My Wife, You Dont! (1966) among a few other Hollywood films.
An Australian Premiere, Perez a 94 minute crime/thriller stars this year's festival guest (in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra) Luca Zingaretti (Inspector Montalbano) who won 'best actor' at the Italian Golden Globes 2015. As Demetrio Perez, he plays a tough prosecutor who is torn between the corruption he sees in his job and the desire to do right by his family. He has to slice through the morality of his inherent roots and become as dirty as the dangerous criminals when his daughter falls in love with a Mafioso's son.
Special presentation Black Souls is a 108 minute long drama that won best film, best director, best music, and best original song at the David Di Donatello Awards 2015. It tells the tale of the eldest of three brothers who turns his back on the drug operation that provided his family with everything including wealth and stature. All he wants to do now is have a simple life raising goats. Unfortunately his 20 year old bored and restless son Leo idolises his two charismatic big-shot uncles who are still knee deep in 'the trade' and wants to make his mark. Leo's impulsive reaction to something trivial changes the course of all their lives that threatens to tear the family apart and explode. This multi-award winning twisting thriller centres on pride and power, father and son, brother against brother, and is a powerful morality tale about what it takes to break cycles of crime and violence.
This is but a small taste of what's on offer. Check the website for the rest of the amazing selection of films.