Now in its 12th year, the Lavazza Italian Film Festival continues to celebrate one of world cinema's powerhouses. This year sees another diverse selection of contemporary Italian cinema. Broadsheet picks some of the highlights.
One Day More
Raffish ladies man Giacomo (Fabio Volo) is so averse to commitment that despairing friends give him a puppy to try to introduce him to the concept, an experiment which ends with the dog palmed off onto a long-suffering friend. When he spies the gorgeous Michela (Isabella Ragonese) on a train, Giacomo thinks he has the ideal solution to get his friends off his back, passing her off as his girlfriend, a plan which becomes somewhat problematic when they actually meet. Further shenanigans, including a detour to Manhattan where the unlikely couple act out the plot of a popular romance novel, ensue in this oddly episodic but completely likeable romcom.
Take it Easy!
“Other people's real stories are better than my made-up ones,” curmudgeonly Bruno (Fabrizio Bentivoglio) complains as he goes about his routine of ghost-writing a porn star's autobiography and half-heartedly tutoring neighbourhood kids. But his life story is about to take on an unexpected new chapter as Luca, a teen with dreams of being a mobster and one of Bruno's less enthusiastic students, comes to stay and is revealed to be Bruno's son. A familiar setup perhaps, but what follows is a gentle comedy with a winning performance from Filippo Schiccitano as the deluded but charismatic teen.
The political becomes personal in Giuliano Montaldo's award-winning drama as Nicola (Pierfrancesco Favino) scrambles to find the money to save the factory he owns before the bank forecloses on him. Too proud to take financial help from his wife's wealthy family, he becomes beset by paranoia as he spies on his wife's attempts to help him and fears the worst. One of a number of festival films that focus on the global financial crisis, The Entrepreneur makes sparing use of colour – the limited palette matching the pessimism of its central character.
Shun Li and the Poet
A lyrical and tender tale of a bashful Chinese barmaid who has moved to Italy with a debt hanging over her head and a plan to one day earn enough to reunite with her son. Relocated by her masters to the picturesque northern fishing town Chioggia, she strikes up a friendship with Beppi, a poetry lover and retired fisherman, but suspicion and prejudice from the community threatens their relationship. Unfolding at a leisurely pace, this quiet and delicate film gradually builds into something quite moving.
The Lavazza Italian Film Festival 2012 runs from September 19 to October 9.
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