Seven recent acclaimed movies from Italy will be featured in the Italian Film Festival. Organised by the Dante Alighieri Cultural Association with support from the Italian Embassy, the fest runs from June 2 to 11 at the ritzy new EmQuartier mall as part of "Urban - Italia", a nine-day celebration of Italian products and culture that coincides with the ongoing Universal Exposition Milan.
All selections are in Italian with English subtitles. It's a ticketed festival, with prices set at 150, 170 and 300 baht.
Among the highlights is The Great Beauty, winner of last year's Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Reality, winner of the Cannes Film Festival Grand Prize in 2012 and The Wonders, the jury prize winner at Cannes last year. Here's the line-up:
- The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza) – Directed by Paolo Sorrentino and starring the auteur's frequent leading man Toni Servillo, the drama follows a retired writer on his 65th birthday as he walks the streets of Rome and reflects on his life, past loves and unfulfillment.
- Long Live Freedom (Vive la liberta) – Toni Servillo pulls double duty in another festival entry, director Robert Ando's political comedy. When a burned-out Italian senator decides he's had enough and pulls a disappearing act, his minder recruits the politician's psychiatrically unstable twin brother to take his place. Long Live Freedom won several honours in Italy, including best screenplay at last year's David di Donatello Awards.
- Reality – Directed by Matteo Garrone, whose previous film, the gritty organised-crime drama Gomorrah won widespread acclaim, the 2012 Cannes Grand Prize winner Reality takes a comic view of the world of reality TV. It follows a Neopolitan fishmonger as he becomes increasingly obsessed with landing a role on "Grande Fratello", the Italian version of "Big Brother". The star is Aniello Arena, an ex-convict former gangster who was discovered by Garrone.
- The Wonders (Le meraviglie) – Last year's jury prize winner at the Cannes Film Festival is the sophomore directorial effort from Alice Rorhrwacher. It's about a domineering teenager who dreams of breaking away from her German beekeeper father, French-speaking mother (played by the director's sister Alba) and three sisters. Monica Bellucci provides an inspirational vision. An ode to the disappearing traditional farming lifestyle of Italy, it's also a partly autobiographical reflection for the director, whose father was German and raised bees.
- Me and You (Io e te) – Veteran writer-director Bernardo Bertolucci contributes his latest, 2012's tension-filled drama about a troubled 14-year-old boy who decides to hide out in a basement in order to escape family and social pressures. But his solitude is disturbed by the arrival of his estranged 25-year-old drug-addicted sister. Bertolucci's first film since The Dreamers in 2003, Me and You was nominated for several awards in Italy and won several others, including the EuroCinema Hawai'i Award at the Hawaii film fest.
- The Ideal City (La citta ideale) – Actor Luigi Lo Cascio, best known for his role in the generations-spanning Italian epic The Best of Youth, makes his directorial debut with this a neo-noir comedy-drama. In The Ideal City, he portrays an environmentally obsessed architect whose life unravels after he's involved in a minor wreck while borrowing a friend's electric car. It was nominated for many prizes, and won the Young Cinema Award at the Venice International Film Festival.
- Leopardi (Il giovane favoloso) – Romantic-era poet Giacomo Leopardi takes centrestage in this 2014 biopic, which follows the 19th century thinker in his restless search for knowledge. Elio Germano stars and Mario Martone directs. The absorbing biographical drama was in the main competition at last year's Venice Film Festival, where it won several prizes, including the Pasinetti Award and Young Jury Members Award for best actor.
For more details, check the Dante Alighieri website or Facebook.
- 8pm, Leopardi
- 8pm, The Ideal City
- 8pm, Long Live Freedom
- 8pm, Me and You
- 3.30pm, Long Live Freedom
- 6pm, The Great Beauty
- 9pm, Reality
- 3.30pm, The Wonders
- 6pm, Leopardi
- 9pm, Me and You
- 8pm, The Ideal City
- 8pm, The Wonders
- 8pm, Reality
- 8pm, The Great Beauty
(Cross-published in The Nation)