It takes a lot to get people out of the house and into a movie theatre these days, the ST. ALi Italian Film Festival is one such reason. In it’s 21st year, not only will you see some great dramas and comedies, the stunning locations will help quench your travel desires, hopefully.
The Italian Film Festival was founded in 2000 by Cav. Antonio Zeccola who built Australia’s only national boutique cinema network which now boasts 22 cinemas and more than one hundred screens nationally. Twenty one years ago, he realised that Australia had other film festivals, but nothing dedicated to Italian cinema. In November 2000 in Sydney and Melbourne, the first edition presented 11 features, five retrospective titles and five shorts. The event was a resounding success. Since then the festival has grown in popularity to the point where it is now the biggest public celebration of Italian cinema outside Italy. For more than two decades the Festival has celebrated Italian language, culture and la dolce vita with an ever-growing audience, last year attracting over 80,000 film lovers nationally.
My top pick for this year is a new live-action version of the classic fairy tale PINOCCHIO. From the Director of Gomorrah and Dogman, Matteo Garrone’s seven-time Nastro d’Argento award-winner is an enthralling gothic fantasy. If that’s not enough it also stars the gorgeous Roberto Benigni as the woodcutter Geppetto. The trailer looks absolutely stunning. Can’t wait to see this one.
Others to look out for are:
The Goddess of Fortune. Ferzan Ozpetek’s award-winning new film THE GODDESS OF FORTUNE (La dea fortuna), featuring an all-star cast including Stefano Accorsi, Edoardo Leo and Jasmine Trinca. This was the media preview and while a lot of people liked it some thought it was a little long. Personally I found it difficult to warm to the main character mother, who assumed she could just plonk her children with friends.
Malena. In honour of Ennio Morricone, one of the world’s greatest film composers – the Festival will close with Giuseppe Tornatore’s MALENAstarring Monica Bellucci.
The Traitor. Marco Bellocchio’s multi award-winning crime drama THE TRAITOR, which was the big winner at Italy’s 65th David di Donatello Awards – the country’s equivalent of the Oscars. The absorbing film sees Pierfrancesco Favino deliver a powerhouse performance as Tommaso Buscetta, a Sicilian Mafia boss-turned-police informer.
Martin Eden. Special Presentation screening of MARTIN EDEN. The award-winning drama provocatively transports Jack London’s 1909 novel about a self-taught and outspoken writer to a pivotal moment in Italy’s pre-war history.
My Brother Chases Dinosaurs. For kids fifteen years and older is MY BROTHER CHASES DINOSAURS. Inspired by a true story, this is a joyous and poignant film about the fear of being judged.
The Most Beautiful Day In The World. For the whole family, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE WORLD a modern-day fairy tale in which a down on his luck theatre manager receives a strange inheritance – custody of two children, and discovers that one of them has amazing telekinetic powers.
Other highlights for the 2020 ST. ALi Italian Film Festival include:
7 HOURS TO WIN YOUR HEART about a desperate journalist who enlists the aid of a seduction expert to regain his ex-girlfriend in a hilarious Neapolitan romantic comedy starring Giampaolo Morelli and Serena Rossi.
BAD TALES set in a southern suburb of Rome and starring Cannes award-winner Elio Germano, this dark tale sees tensions unfold in a small community during a sweltering summer.
FEEL YOUR MEMORIES a captivating psychological drama which follows a woman returning to her childhood home in 1990s Naples. Featuring a stellar performance from Giovanna Mezzogiorno.
GOLDEN MEN a crime comedy starring Fabio De Luigi, Edoardo Leo and Giampaolo Morelli in which a group of desperate men in Turin attempt an armoured truck robbery.
HAMMAMET recounts the last year of controversial politician Bettino Craxi’s life as he lived in exile following corruption charges and features an astonishing performance from Pierfrancesco Favino.
I HATE SUMMER sees much-loved Italian comedians Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo star in a hilarious story of friendship in which three families accidentally book the same holiday rental.
LETSCLEANAPP featuring hilarious performances by Luca Zingaretti and Roberto Lipari, this comedy sees a student upending favouritism and corruption in his university with an app for students to rate their professors.
ONCE UPON A TIME…IN BETHLEHEM
ORDINARY JUSTICE is a quietly impactful drama from newcomer Chiara Bellosi, which examines the emotions behind the legal machinery at work in the courtroom following an attempted armed robbery.
THE BIG STEP a bittersweet tale of brotherhood, and believing in your dream, no matter how far-fetched it may seem featuring Giuseppe Battiston and Stefano Fresi.
This year the Festival is also launching the ST. ALi Italian Film Festival eTicket Bundle. Escape to Italy with 5 eTickets for $55 or 10 eTickets for $100. The ticket bundle is available to buy online only from September 10 until September 30 and is valid for the duration of the 2020 Italian Film Festival. This is a Movie Club exclusive offer.
Running from Oct 1 to 14 2020.