Italian Film Festival returns to the big screen

Main image: Il Gattorpardo

Nobody does soaring landscapes, azure waters, glorious architecture, mouth-watering pasta and sweeping romance quite like the Italians. And while we dream of hopping on a plane bound for Rome, the Studio Italia Cinema Italiano (Italian Film Festival) brings Italy to us.

New Zealand’s most romantic film festival begins its tour of the country on 17 June with a line-up of films that will compel audiences to laugh, cry, dream and fall in love all over again.

Such masterpieces include the opening night film La Dea Fortuna set against a backdrop of classic Italian architecture, including a 17th century villa in Bagheria, near Palermo.

“It’s a truly romantic story”, says festival director, Paolo Rotondo, “because it contains so many of the triumphs and tribulations that real relationships experience. It’s a sophisticated, grown-up celebration of love and life, never afraid to soar with beauty but equally heartbreaking and somehow both a comedy and truly profound drama.”

Opening night film, La Dea Fortuna

Screen siren, Sophia Loren captures audiences in Marriage Italian Style and La Ciociara, for which she won an Oscar. “If any actor had been in these two films alone, they would be considered a star. Still, for Sophia Loren, they are just two highlights among so many matchless performances.”

The restrictions in Italy saw fewer films available this year, with many films released online instead of cinemas, and an underlying theme of ‘change’ is noted at this year’s festival. Il Gattopardo shows change through the fading aristocracy during the infancy of the republic, and The Goddess Fortune speaks of the changing structures of what family is today. Another example is The Traitor, which chronicles the first Mafia turncoat. Revolution, transformation and challenges seem to be peppered thematically in every film, from comedies to documentaries.

The Studio Italia Cinema Italiano (Italian Film Festival) screens in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Waiheke Island, Matakana, Tauranga, Whakatane, Taupo, Napier, Havelock North, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Masterton, Nelson, Blenheim, Dunedin and Arrowtown. The full list of screening times and venues are available at the festival website.

Italian Film Festival director Paolo Rotondo

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