Returning for its third edition, the Moviemov Italian Film Festival again offers an unusual mix of award-winning contemporary Italian movies, classic films and even a few Thai flicks.
Part of the Italian Festival in Thailand, the Moviemov fest this year pays tribute to director Ettore Scola with a retrospective of his work, mostly commedia all'italiana (Italian-style comedies), from the 1960s to the '90s. Among the selection is his hit 1974 comedy-drama C’eravamo tanto amati (We All Loved Each Other So Much), the sweeping post-war story of three anti-fascist fighters.
In the Italian Showcase of contemporary cinema, a highlight is The Best Offer, the latest work from Cinema Paradiso director Giuseppe Tornatore. Starring Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sturgess and Donald Sutherland, with a score by Ennio Morricone, it’s a psychological thriller and romance set against the backdrop of high-end art auctions in Europe.
The Italian Showcase also features work by three up-and-coming young female directors, Francesca Comencini with A Special Day, Maria Sole Tognazzi's Viaggio sola and Elisa Fuksas with Nina.
And, owing to the record-setting box-office success of GTH’s ghost comedy Pee Mak Phra Khanong, the Moviemov fest's Thai Showcase will feature three more hit horrors from the GTH studio, Alone, Body and Phobia 2.
The lineup is divided into three components.
- July 24, 8pm (opening gala by invitation only), La grande bellezza (The Great Beauty), 2013 – Director Paolo Sorrentino (This Must Be the Place) again collaborates with his Il Divo actor Toni Servillo in this portrait of an ageing writer and hedonist as he rededicates himself to appreciating his life and the beauty of Rome. It premiered in the main competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
- July 25, 8pm, Tutti i santi giorni (Every Blessed Day), 2012 – Paolo Virzi directs this romantic comedy about a young couple who are opposites – he is shy and reserved while she is restless, touchy and prideful. Their relationship seems strong until the desire to have a child has unpredictable consequences.
- July 26, 6pm, Un giorno speciale (A Special Day), 2012 – A nominee for the Golden Lion at last year's Venice fest, Francesca Comencini directs this romance about a young woman aiming to climb the ladder of showbiz. On the way to meet a politician, she is picked up by a limousine and strikes up a friendship with the young man driving it.
- July 26, 8.30pm, Viaggio sola, 2013 – Maria Sole Tognazzi directs this drama about fortysomething single Irene, who enjoys her job of travelling solo as a jet-setting anonymous reviewer of five-star hotels. Margherita Buy won best actress for her role at this year's David di Donatello Awards.
- July 27, 7pm, Nina, 2012 – Elisa Fuksas' quirky comedy-drama is about an oddball young woman (Diane Fleri) who works as pet-sitter. She is seemingly committed to remaining alone, but a 10-year-old boy and a shaggy-haired bearded cellist keep entering her life. It was a Grand Prix nominee at last year's Tokyo International Film Festival.
- July 27, 9pm, Cha Cha Cha, 2013 – Marco Risi directs this crime drama set in Rome, where a policeman (Luke Argentero) is investigating a simple car crash involving a young boy. Meanwhile, an engineer on a mega-mall project turns up dead.
- July 28, 5pm, Gli equilibristi (Balancing Act), 2012 – A Rome city employee struggles after he is unfaithful to his wife and moves out. Ivano De Matteo writes and directs this comedy-drama, which won best actor for Valerio Mastandrea at this year's David di Donatello Awards.
- July 28, 7.30pm, La migliore offerta (The Best Offer) – Giuseppe Tornatore directs this thriller with Geoffrey Rush as the cranky boss of an auction house who becomes increasingly obsessed with a mysterious woman (Sylvia Hoeks), whose art collection he is called on to appraise. Donald Sutherland and Jim Sturgis also star. It was the top winner of this year's David di Donatello Awards, taking six prizes, including Best Film and Best Music for composer Ennio Morricone.
Italian Classic: Ettore Scola Retrospective
- July 25, 4pm, Dramma della gelosia (The Pizza Triangle), 1970 – A complicated love triangle that's both comic and tragic forms between a married bricklayer (Marcello Mastroianni), a florist (Monica Vitti) and a pizza chef (Giancarlo Giannini). Mastroianni won Best Actor at Cannes for his performance.
- July 25, 6pm, Maccheroni (Macaroni), 1985 – Jack Lemmon is a successful American businessman visiting Naples. Weary from the pressures of a divorce and his pill-popping habit, he spends several days as a guest of an old acquaintance (Mastroianni), whose laid-back philosophy devotion to family teaches Lemmon's uptight character how to relax and appreciate life.
- July 26, 3.30pm, C'eravamo tanto amati (We All Loved Each Other So Much), 1974 – Nino Manfredi, Vittorio Gassman and Stefania Sandrelli star in this comedy-drama that follows three anti-fascist fighters through the years following World War II. Among Scola's best-regarded works, it won France's César Award for Best Foreign Film.
- July 27, 4.30pm, Riusciranno i nostri eroi a ritrovare l'amico misteriosamente scomparso in Africa? (Will Our Heroes Be Able to Find Their Friend Who Has Mysteriously Disappeared in Africa?), 1968 – Inaugurating a short-lived period when long movie titles were in fashion in the Italian film industry, this comedy-adventure is about a Roman businessman who takes off to Africa in search of his missing son-in-law. His accountant comes along. Alberto Sordi, Nino Manfredi and Bernard Blier star.
- July 28, noon, Romanzo di un giovane povero (Diary of a Poor Young Man), 1995 – An unemployed college graduate is offered money by an elderly neighbor who wants his wife killed. The young man refuses, but the woman turns up dead anyway. Rolando Ravello and Alberto Sordi star.
- July 28, 2.30pm, Una giornata particolare (A Special Day), 1977 – It's 1938, and Hitler is in Rome to visit Mussolini. While her fascist husband is attending the celebration, a lonely housewife (Sophia Loren), strikes up an odd friendship with a similarly lonely neighbor man (Marcello Mastroianni, an Oscar nominee for his role). In addition to an Academy AWard nomination for best foreign language film, it won the Golden Globe and the César Award in France.
- July 28, 5.30pm, La famiglia (The Family), 1987 – Vittorio Gassman and Stefania Sandrelli star in this sweeping drama in which an elderly professor looks back on his family's history, from the 1870s, through two world wars, up to the 1980s. It won five David di Donatello Awards, and was a nominee for the Cannes Palme d'Or and an Academy Award.
- July 27, 6.30pm, Alone (แฝด, Faed), 2007 – Director pair Banjong Pisanthanakhun and Parkpoom Wongpoom followed up their 2004 hit Shutter with this thriller about a formerly conjoined twin haunted by her dead sister. Marsha Wattanapanich stars in a dual role.
- July 27, 8pm, Phobia 2 (ห้าแพร่ง, Haa Phrang), 2009 – Paween Purijitpanya, Visute Poolvoralaks, Songyos Sugmakanan, Parkpoom and Banjong each take turns telling short horror stories, with karma catching up to a misbehaving novice monk and a dishonest car saleswoman. A hospital patient has a frightful night in a shared ward while young backpackers hitch a ride that turns terrifying. Finally, Marsha turns up in a parody of her Alone role in a comic segment about a scared film crew.
- July 28, 8.30pm, Body (ศพ 19, Body Sop 19), 2007 – Paween directs this stylishly gory thriller about a college student (Arak Amornsupasiri) who has visions of a ghostly woman who appears to have been dismembered and put back together.
Pity about that opening film being invite only and not showing again.
The Moviemov Italian Film Festival is open to the public from next Thursday, July 25, until Sunday July 28 at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld.
All movies will be screened with English and Thai subtitles.
Admission is free, so I suppose you need to give yourself an hour or so beforehand to stand in line for the freebie tickets.
For more details, visit the festival website.