The Lavazza Italian Film Festival is back again for its 15th edition, gracing Sydney’s Palace cinemas from 18 September to 12 October, with a diverse lineup of 34 new films plus a special Closing Night screening of a new 4K restoration of Vittorio De Sica’s 1964 classic Marriage, Italian Style, starring the one and only Sophia Loren.
Recently restored by the Cineteca di Bologna, who are also behind one of the world’s best film restoration festivals, Il Cinema Ritrovato, and having recently screened at Cannes as part of their Classics section, this screening of Marriage, Italian Style is certainly a rare and exciting opportunity. It’s the kind we don’t see enough of in cinematheque-devoid Sydney, and for that reason it is certainly one of our highlights of the festival.
We were also very happy to hear that they are offering multiple screenings of Alice Rohrwacher’s brilliant Cannes Grand Prix winner, The Wonders, our highlight of Filmfest München.1 It’s a film of rare beauty from an exciting young director, and one we can’t recommend enough. Did we mention it stars Monica Bellucci? If that isn’t reason enough, I don’t know what is. It is unclear when or if The Wonders will receive further Australian distribution, so make sure not to miss this chance to see it in cinemas here.
Another Australian first is Gianfranco Rosi’s 2013 Venice Golden Lion winner Sacro Gra, which was a noticeable omission from both this year’s Sydney Film Festival and Melbourne International Film Festival. To make the film, Rosi camped for two years on Rome’s Grande Raccordo Anulare (GRA) ring road, capturing a glimpse at the lives of Rome’s fringe-dwellers. Sacro Gra controversially pipped Tsai Ming Liang’s Stray Dogs to become the first documentary ever to win the prestigious Golden Lion, in a jury headed by Italian film legend Bernando Bertolucci.
Other highlights include Daniele Luchetti’s much-lauded Those Happy Years, Alberto Fasulo’s docu-fiction hybrid Tir and renowned satirist Pierfrancesco Diliberto’s promising debut feature, the comedy The Mafia Kills Only in Summer.
The festival is divided into four categories: “Top Shelf” with films direct from Cannes; “Drammatico Italiano” including a selection of films produced in Italy in the last 12 months; “Laughing, Italian Style” with recent Italian comedies; and “Per Bambini” with a family film for younger audiences.
With tickets on sale now, we recommend you hotfoot it to the festival’s website to check out the full program on offer and secure your seats.