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Messy Christmas - Film Review (Lavazza Italian Film Festival 2017)

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A comedy enjoying its Australian Premiere
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Image courtesy of Lavazza Italian Film Fest 2017

From Luca Miniero, the director of Welcome to the South (LIFF11) and Welcome to the North (LIFF12), comes yet another hilarious comedy, Messy Christmas (Non c' pi religione), a 90 minute long cinematic event enjoying its Australian Premiere.

Starring Claudio Bisio, Alessandro Gassman, Angela Finocchiaro, Nabiha Akkari, Mehdi Meskar, and Giovanni Esposito, this and many other movies will be on offer at the Lavazza Italian Film Festival 2017.

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Images Apulia Film Commission, Cattleya, European Union, RAI Radiotelevisione Italiana, Rai Cinema, & Regione Puglia

At its essence, newly elected Mayor Cecco (Claudio Bisio) has his hands full, working hard at not only trying to find a baby to play Jesus to suit the tradition of a live nativity scene on the small Mediterranean island of Porto Buio, but he's also trying to unite the two conflicted communities on the island by getting the Muslim Tunisian community involved in his Catholic endeavours.

Unfortunately for him, there's not been a new baby born on the island in years, and the last baby has definitely outgrown his role. With the help of an old friend, Bilal (Alessandro Gassman) who has converted to local Islam, he goes about 'borrowing' one of the Tunisian babies to cross the cultural divide. A whole lot of conflicted comedic situations arise when both communities have to deal with a baby Jesus that may need his nationality, and even his religion changed! The preparations to overcome their differences and the challenges of achieving the likes of a nativity scene the island hasn't seen in 2000 years, has made this slice of entertainment a box office hit.


This is definitely a Christmas story gone wrong, yet feels so right by the warmth three old friends; a politician, a converted Muslim and a Catholic nun (Angela Finocchiar), bring to the table. Bisio and Gassman have an energy between them that keeps it lighthearted and endearing. There's more than just the nativity issue to resolve amongst these old friends.

Quite fast paced, contemporary and modern while addressing a traditional subject, the original take on this film is charming and will put a big grin on your face. It's visually stunning and Bisio is at his best engaging in light banter with a lot of warmth. Some scenes may be preposterous, but it only adds to the overall charm of this engaging movie.

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Why? Messy Christmas - Film Review (Lavazza Italian Film Festival 2017)
When: 2017: SYD 12 Sep - 8 Oct; ADE 13 Sep - 1 Oct ; MEL 14 Sep - 8 Oct; CAN 14 Sep - 8 Oct; BRIS 20 Sep - 8 Oct; PER 21 Sep - 11 Oct; HOB 19 - 25 Oct.
Where: Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth & Hobart
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