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Second London Italian Film Festival - Programme details

Cinema Made in Italy

Preview by Jack Foley

THE second London Italian Film Festival, dubbed Cinema – Made in Italy, runs from March 9 – 30 and offers three weeks of the best in Italian cinema.

The festival offers 13 brand new Italian film screenings in the first week (from March 9 – 15), followed by a fortnight of screenings (from 16 – 30) of contemporary Italian films and a selection of Italian TV sporting dramas in honour of the forthcoming Olympics in London this summer.

There will also be a celebration of the legendary director Vittorio de Seta and opportunities to sample delicious Italian gastronomy.

The festival, now an annual event, is organized by the Italian Cultural Institute in London and Istituto Luce Cinecittà in Rome .

Eight of the 13 new films have been chosen by Paolo Mereghetti, film critic for Il Corriere della Sera, (Italy’s most widely read daily newspaper) and two have been selected by Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London. They will be screened at the Ciné Lumière and will be followed by Q&A sessions with directors and actors.

The festival this year builds on the success of 2011, which opened with a concert at Cadogan Hall by Life Is Beautiful‘s Oscar-winning soundtrack composer Nicola Piovani.

Cinema – Made In Italy is an event for cine-enthusiasts, fans of Italian film, UK media, distributors and anyone else with an interest in film.

It’s an event that says loudly that “Italy is Forever at the Forefront of Film”.

Screening Programme:

Friday, March 9

6.30pm – Scialla! (Take It Easy!) (95 mins)
Directed by: Francesco Bruni

Cast: Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Filippo Scicchitano, Barbora Bobulova, Vinicio Marchioni, Giuseppe Guarino, Prince Manujibeya, Arianna Scommegna, Giacomo Ceccarelli, Raffaella Lebboroni

A wonderfully touching and comedic debut feature that depicts the relationship between a melancholy professor and a rebellious teenager from the award winning screenwriter of The First Beautiful Thing. The film won the Controcampo Italiano Prize at Venice in 2011.

8.50pm – Islands (92 mins)
Directed by: Stefano Chiantini

Cast: Asia Argento, Ivan Franek, Giorgio Colangeli

An eastern European bricklayer looking for work is befriended by a young woman (Asia Argento) who has retreated into silence and lives with a middle-aged priest. The priest is at war with his sister, the young woman is running from her past and the bricklayer is simply trying to survive, but as their lives intermingle, emotions bubble to the surface. The film debuted in the Contemporary World Cinema section in Toronto 2011.

Saturday, March 10

4.30pm – Scialla! (Take It Easy!) (95 mins)

(See above)

6.30pm – Summer of Giacomo (78 mins)
Directed by: Alessandro Comodin

Cast: Giacomo Zulian, Stefania Comodin, Barbara Colombo, Stephane Lehembre

A debut feature from Alessandro Comodin which took home the Golden Leopard in the Filmmakers of the Present section from Locarno in 2011. Summer of Giacomo is set in the north Italian countryside and centres on Giacomo, a young 19-year-old deaf man, who goes picnicking with his best female friend. But they get lost and discover a remote and heavenly place where during an afternoon, sensuality creeps into their childish games until they realise that these events are nothing more than the bittersweet memory of an already lost time.

8.50pm – Tatanka (100 mins)
Directed by: Giuseppe Gagliardi

Cast: Clemente Russo, Rade Serbedzija, Giorgio Colangeli, Carmine Recano, Raiz, Sascha Zacharias, Damir Todorovic, Luis Molteni, Susanne Wolff, Claudia Ruffo, Lorenzo Scialla, Vincenzo Pane, Luisa Di Natale, Enzo Casertano

Taken from the short story, Tatanka Scatenato, written by hard-hitting Gomorrah author Roberto Saviano. The film tells the true-life story of champion boxer Clemente Russo who literally used his fists to fight his way out of the mafia and to winning a silver Olympic medal in 2008. The film won Best Artistic Contribution at the Montreal World Film Festival in 2011.

Sunday, March 11

4.30pm – Islands (92 mins)

(See above)

6.30pm – Là-Bas – A Criminal Education (100 mins)
Directed by: Guido Lombardi

Cast: Salvatore Ruocco, Abdou Kader Alassane, Moussa Mone, Esther Elisha, Fatima Traore, Billi Serigne Faye

A debut feature by Neapolitan film-maker Guido Lombardi, which premiered in competition at in Critics’ Week at Venice in 2011. “Là-bas”, over there, is how Africans refer to Europe . It means far away, somewhere else, where their relatives and friends go in the hope of finding a better life, an opportunity. Là-bas tells the story of Yssouf’s criminal education.

Yssouf, a young African sculptor is one of the many African immigrants come to Italy to join one of his relatives, thinking he would find an honest job and instead finding out that the only life possible in order to survive is one of crime – an honest cross-section of a hushed reality, that of many immigrants with good intentions who turn to crime for lack of alternatives, the portrait of a desperate humanity that tries to get by. The film won the Luigi De Laurentiis Award at Venice and the Flash Forward Best Film at Pusan , both in 2011.

8.50pm – Li and the Poet (96 mins)
Directed by: Andrea Segre

Cast: Zhao Tao, Rade Serbedzija, Marco Paolini, Roberto Citran, Giuseppe Battiston

An unusual and compelling debut feature by Andrea Segre selected for the Director’s Fortnight section of the Venice Film Festival in 2011 – the film took home the FEDIC Award, Lina Mangiacapre Prize, Lanterna Magica Award from Venice . It also played at the BFI London Film Festival and received a Special Jury mention at the Reykjavik International Film Festival later that year.

With a terrific central performance by Zhao Tao as Li, which is both restrained and heartfelt, Li and the Poet takes the essence of an all- too-real-life situation (the relatively recent influx of Chinese immigrants into the environs of Venice) and gives us a vivid contemporary story that is also simultaneously a new filmic look at aspects of Venetian life, refreshingly naturalistic and free of picture postcard tourism.

Monday, March 12

4.30pm – Summer of Giacomo (78 mins)

(See above)

6.30pm – The First On the List (85 mins) – Adrian Wootton’s Choice
Directed by: Roan Johnson

Cast: Claudio Santamaria, Francesco Turbanti, Paolo Cioni, Sergio Pierattini, Daniela Morozzi, Fabrizio Brandi, Capovilla

Based on a true story, and set after a season of student demonstrations and strikes of the working class in Pisa, in 1970 The rumour spreads that Italy may be subject to a military coup. Pino Masi, author of songs of struggle, decides to leave with two high school students heading over the Austrian border thinking the coup imminent. Capturing the swirling paranoia of the time and injecting humour the film premiered as a Special Event at the Rome International Film Festival in 2011 and is the 2nd feature from Anglo-Italian Roan Johnson.

8.50pm – My Tomorrow (88 mins) – Adrian Wootton’s Choice
Directed by: Marina Spada

Cast: Claudia Gerini, Raffaele Pisu, Claudia Coli, Paolo Pierobon, Lino Guanciale, Enrico Bosco.

Having premiered In Competition at Rome in late 2011, My Tomorrow tells the story of a Milanese woman, Monica, who is complicit in the perpetuation of unsavoury capitalist practices and her aim to break out of the rut caused by job, family and love issues.

Tuesday, March 13

4.30pm – The First On the List (85 mins)

(See above)

6.30pm – Summer Games (101 mins)
Directed by: Rolando Colla

Cast: Alessia Barela, Antonio Merone, Roberta Fossile, Armando Condolucci, Fiorella Campanella

A coming of age tale with a striking central performance from teen actor Armando Condolucci who plays a tough Roman kid on holiday at the Tuscan coast with his younger brother and constantly-feuding parents – it’s there he meets Marie, a girl his same age, who is deeply affected by her non-relationship with her father – through this friendship both children end up experiencing the joys and the pain of first love which changes their lives. The film premiered Out of Competition at Venice and in the Discovery Section in Toronto in 2011.

8.50pm – The Cardboard Village (87 mins)
Directed by: Ermanno Olmi

Cast: Michael Lonsdale, Rutger Hauer, Alessandro Haber, Massimo De Francovich, Souleymane Sow, Elhadji Ibrahima Faye, Irima Pino Viney, Fatima Alì, Samuels Leon Delroy, Fernando Ghironda, Linda Keny, Blaise Aurelien Ngoungou Essoua, Heven Tewelde, Rashidi Osaro Wamah, Prosper Elijah Keny

From one of Italy’s most respected filmmakers, Ermanno Olmi (The Legend of the Holy Drinker) and starring Michael Lonsdale, Rutger Hauer, Alessandro Haber, The Cardboard Village tells the story of an old priest who braves the police to give shelter to a group of African refugees in his soon to be demolished church – in this circumstance of crisis, these people all together will be able to find the real meaning of the word ‘solidarity’ and realize that the church is much more than a place for liturgical ceremonies and golden altars. The film premiered Out of Competition at Venice and had a Special Presentation screening at Toronto.

Wednesday, March 14

4.30pm – Tatanka (100 mins)

(See above)

6.30pm – The Cardboard Village (95 mins)

(See above)

8.50pm – The Last Man On Earth (96 mins)
Directed by: Gianni Pacinotti aka Gipi

Cast: Gabriele Spinelli, Anna Bellato, Roberto Herlitzka, Paolo Mazzarelli, Teco Celio, Luca Marinelli

This first feature by graphic novelist Gianni Pacinotti premiered as the sole debut film In Competition at Venice 2011. The Last Man On Earth gently spoofs the human condition and the banal vulgarity of Italian society in a tongue-in-cheek sci-fi tale centering round an alien landing in Italy, a nation which is tired and disillusioned and steeped in economic crisis.

Thursday, March 15

6.30pm – Rust (109 mins)
Directed by: Daniele Gaglianone

Cast: Filippo Timi, Stefano Accorsi, Valerio Mastandrea, Valeria Solarino

It’s a hot summer in the 1970s, in the north Italian suburbs of a town inhabited by immigrants from the south and the northeast. Here a gang of immigrant children spends its time playing games and clashing with other small gangs. That summer, a new physician arrives in the neighbourhood: the elegant and aristocratic Dr. Boldrini, who inspires awe from everyone.

Three decades later, three adults are coming to grips with the daily reality of their lives. The echoes from that violent summer will inexorably invade their apparently normalised lives. The film premiered in the Venice Days section at Venice 2011 and won the Prix Sergio Leone at the Annecy Italian Cinema Festival 2011.

8.50pm – Kryptonite! (110 mins)
Directed by: Ivan Cotroneo

Cast: Valeria Golino, Luca Zingaretti, Cristiana Capotondi, Libero De Rienzo, Fabrizio Gifuni, Lucia Ragni, Antonia Truppo, Monica Nappo, Rosaria De Cicco, Massimiliano Gallo, Luigi Catani, Vincenzo Nemolato, Gennaro Cuomo

The directorial debut of Ivan Controneo (writer on I Am Love, Loose Cannons) and adapted from his own novel. The film is set in Naples in the 1970’s and centres round 9-year-old Peppino Sansone who comes from a large and fairly chaotic family and has an older cousin, Gennaro, who thinks he is Superman. Peppino divides his days between the crazy and colourful world of his young aunt and uncle, and his home where his mum has shut herself away in an incomprehensible silence.

But when Gennaro dies, Peppino’s imagination rewrites reality to help him face up to the vicissitudes of his family and start to approach the adult world. The film premiered In Competition at the Rome International Film Festival 2011.

Venue and box office information

Screenings from March 9 – 15 take place at Ciné Lumière, 17 Queensbury Place, London, SW7 2DT. Tickets cost £7-£9

Booking information: 020 7073 1350 / www.institut-francais.org.uk/book

Screenings and events from March 16-30 take place at the Italian Cultural Institute, 39 Belgrave Square, London, SW1X 8NX.

Booking information: 020 7396 4430 / www.icilondon.esteri.it

For more information on the festival go to the website