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The Big Screen Is Back! Italian Film Festival To Show In Cinemas Nationwide.

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The films have arrived, the theatres are ready and the
audience is hungry for its annual feast of Italian cinema.
The always popular Studio Italia Cinema Italiano Festival
(Italian Film Festival) kicks off in Napier on July 29th,
before making its viaggio around the country. And its
organisers are expecting full houses, as Kiwis clamber to
support their local independent cinemas, who have been
hugely affected by Covid-19 closures.

Festival
Director Paolo Rotondo says despite clear challenges, the
Italian Film Festival remained committed to screening its
films in a cinema environment this year. And he believes
movie-goers will be keen to get their fix. “It’s been a
tough year for events and for cinemas – and making movies
has, of course, halted in many countries as well. Our
festival is an opportunity to support local, but also to
support the very best in content from Italy – one of the
first countries to be hit by the virus.”

Indeed,
with the Kiwi actor/director’s country of birth so
devastated by Covid-19, Rotondo says he felt both deeply
distressed and more committed than ever to running the
festival, now in its fifth year. He and wife Renee Mark
immerse themselves in film selection each year, working with
naming sponsor Studio Italia to bring Italian films to movie
buffs everywhere – from Arrowtown to Waiheke Island. “With
so much uncertainty around social distancing requirements
and closures at the outset of lockdown, we came very close
to pulling the pin,” recalls Rotondo, who recently starred
in the BBC adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s The
Luminaries
. “But then we thought, ‘let’s not.
Let’s show optimism and resilience.’ We wanted to
demonstrate to our audience that we’re still here, and we
still care.”

The unofficial theme of this year’s
festival is an exploration of the Italian male. Born in
Italy and raised in an apartment in Naples before moving to
New Zealand aged 10, Rotondo says it’s a subject he
identifies with, and that he was interested in the ways
Italian cinema both critiqued and celebrated what it means
to be a man in Italy. “The films we have chosen deliver a
fascinating insight, often from a female
perspective.”

There was a scramble, however, to pull
together this year’s programme, with many of the scheduled
films unavailable at the last minute due to distribution
deals having been struck with content platforms like
Netflix. “So we adapted,” continues Rotondo. “We have
been lucky enough to secure two wonderful Paolo Sorrentino
films – he’s the biggest director in Italy right now and
is viewed as the heir to Fellini.”

The programme
includes Sorrentini’s 2014 Oscar winner The Great
Beauty
, as well as 2018’s Loro, which documents
the wild, wicked, utterly debauched lifestyle of former
prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. “He’d throw the most
expensive, vulgar parties in the world – called bunga
bunga parties – which were essentially extravagant orgies
that were both super lavish and super
demented.”

There are quieter films, too, lyrical
films, comedies, dramas and a children’s film. Rotondo
says he can’t wait to see how Kiwi audiences enjoy the
selections. “There’s a real sense of excitement amongst
our audience about getting back to the cinemas,” he says,
“and I do think we have something for everyone. Cinema can
offer so many different experiences, but one thing is for
sure – if you come to a Cinema Italiano film you will be
either entertained, transported, or moved. You will
certainly not be bored.”

The Studio Italia Cinema
Italiano Festival (Italian Film Festival) screens in
Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Waiheke Island,
Matakana, Tauranga, Whakatane, Taupo, Napier, Havelock
North, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Masterton, Nelson and
Arrowtown.

Times and ticketing information available
at:

http://www.cinemaitalianonz.com/

© Scoop Media

 

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