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The best of Italian cinema at the 56th BFI London Film Festival

Feature by Jack Foley

IN 2012, an impressive number of Italian films have reaped coveted awards at major festivals, making it a spectacular year for Italian cinema.

Caesar Must Die won the Golden Bear in Berlin and was recently announced as Foreign Language Oscar candidate.

Reality won the Grand Prix in Cannes, while at the Venice Film festival The Interval won the FIPRESCI Award (Orizzonti/Critics’ Week), and Daniele Ciprì won the Award for Best Technical Contribution (Cinematography) with It Was The Son.

Both Reality and Caesar Must Die now have UK distributors attached.

For full details of all these films and more showing at this year’s London Film Festival just scroll down below…

Reality – Director Matteo Garrone – 115 mins


A fascinating take on the world of celebrity culture, Reality delves into the darker side of reality TV as it follows the extreme lengths some people will go to for their five minutes of fame. Luciano is a Neapolitan fishmonger who

supplements his modest income by pulling off little scams together with his wife Maria. A likeable and entertaining guy, Luciano never misses an opportunity to perform for his customers and countless relatives. One day his family urge him to try out for a reality TV show.

AAs his perception of reality begins to change, Luciano plunges into a self-delusional fantasy that threatens to destroy his relationship and his loved ones. Winner of the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Matteo Garrone’s new film provides a sharp contrast to his previous film, the celebrated Gomorrah.

Reality will be released in the UK by Independent Distribution on March 22, 2013.

Showing: Thursday, October 11 OWE2 13:00; Friday 12 RENOIR 18:30; Sunday 14 VUE7 12:30

The Red & The Blue (Il Rosso e il Blu) – Director Giuseppe Piccioni – 100 mins

The Red & The Blue

Once again, Giuseppe Piccioni (Light of My Eyes, Not of this World) confirms he is a talent to be reckoned with. Set in a high school in the suburbs of Rome, a series of individual

journeys unfold from a kaleidoscope of perspectives. The result is a refined and sensitive drama, laced with ingenuity and wit. The Red & The Blue is fully expected to be as warmly received as Giuseppe Piccioni’s previous films at the LFF.

Showing: Saturday, October 13 SOTG 16:15; Tuesday 16 CINÉ LUMIÈRE 18:30; Thursday 18 VUE7 12:45

Bergan & Magnani: The War Of Volcanos (La Guerra dei Vulcani) – Director Francesco Patierno – 52 mins

Bergman & Magnani: The War of Volcanoes

This enthralling documentary tells the story of the biggest jet-set love scandal of all times, when Roberto Rossellini swapped his star and lover, Anna Magnani, for Swedish-Hollywood icon Ingrid Bergman.

Using film clips, black & white and colour archive footage and newsreel, Patierno delivers this tale of wrath, suffering and love with delectable verve and panache, for the greatest delight of the audience.

Showing: Sunday 14 NFT3 15:00 (the screening will be preceded by Roberto Rossellini’s Viaggio in Italia – 97 mins)

The Interval (L’Intervallo) – Director Leonardo Di Costanzo – 90 mins

The Interval

Toto, a teenage granita seller, is summoned by the local Camorra boss to guard over free spirited Veronica, who is being held captive in a huge abandoned building in Naples. It is not entirely clear what she has done to deserve to be

locked up in such a frightening place, but what is certain is that an unpleasant punishment awaits her. Co-written by one of the five screenwriters of Gomorrah, Maurizio Braucci, and a hit at this year’s Venice Film Festival, where it won the FIPRESCI Award (Orizzonti/Critics’ Week), The Interval is an impressive first fiction feature by documentary filmmaker Leonardo di Costanzo.

Showing: Tuesday, October 16 CINE LUMIERE 21:00; Thursday 18 NFT3 13:00

It Was The Son (È Stato Il Figlio) – Director Daniele Ciprì – 90 mins

It Was The Son

The Ciraulo family lives in one of the poorest districts of Palermo in Sicily, and although their life is tough, it is peaceful. Until one day the daughter is fatally wounded

when caught in the cross-fire of two mafia killers. There is a glimmer of at least some economic hope in the form of government compensation for mafia victims which the family can claim.

However, further misfortune lies in store when they start spending the promised money before it reaches their pockets, with devastating consequences.

It Was The Son is the first solo directorial feature from cinematographer Daniele Ciprì. He won the Award for Best Technical Contribution (Cinematography) at Venice 2012.

Showing: Thursday, October 18 OWE2 18:00; Friday 19 OWE2 12:30; Sunday 21 MAYFAIR1 16:00

Caesar Must Die (Cesare Deve Morire) – Directors Paolo & Vittorio Taviani – 76 mins

Caesar Must Die

The legendary filmmakers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani spent six months following rehearsals for a stage performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar by a group of inmates at the Rebibbia maximum security prison on the outskirts of Rome.

The result is a gritty blend of documentary and drama, whereby the Tavianis explore the complex relationship between life and art. Winner of the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, Caesar Must Die is thought provoking cinema at its best.

The film will open in the UK in early spring 2013 and is released by New Wave Films.

Showing: Thursday, October 18 VUE5 18:00; Friday 19 NFT3 16:00

Dormant Beauty (Bella Addormentata) – Director Marco Bellocchio – 110 mins

Dormant Beauty

Set against the background of the 2009 real-life case when Beppe Englaro decided to take his daughter Eluana, who had been in a coma for 17 years, off mechanical life support, Dormant Beauty is a delicate and moving exploration of the controversial debate about euthanasia.

Beautifully performed, the cast includes veteran actress Isabelle Huppert and Fabrizio Falco, who won the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress at this year’s Venice Film Festival.

Showing: Saturday, October 20 VUE7 21:00; Sunday 21 VUE7 18:15

The Big Gundown (La Resa dei Conti) – Director Sergio Sollima – 105 mins

The Big Gundown

Recently restored by Sony Columbia, this influential Italian Western has stunning visuals and a spectacular soundtrack by Ennio Morricone. With his piercing gaze, Lee Van Cleef is perfect as Jonathan Corbett, an obsessed bounty hunter whose mission it is to track down an outlaw Mexican who has raped and killed a 12-year-old girl. But during the course of events his character is forced to question his own actions and motives…

Showing: Sunday, October 21 VUE7 12:45

The 56th BFI London Film Festival runs from October 10-21, 2012. Ticket Booking Info (Box Office now open to the public)