The Lavazza Italian Film Festival 2019 returns to Perth on the 2 October for a standout program of gritty dramas and sun-scorched Mediterranean gems. Opening with The Champion, about the glossy world of Italian footballers, the festival will finish up on the operatic heights of Ron Howard’s Pavarotti – an evocative documentary on the life of Italy’s star performer. Luckily for you, we’ve managed to wrangle the top five picks from Festival Director Elysia Zeccola.

The Champion

This has all the ingredients for a great opening night film: a very entertaining story set against the glamorous backdrop of life in the fast lane for a pro-footballer; great music (including Italian-Australian band JET); and backed up with a terrific cast featuring Stefano Accorsi and Andrea Carpenzano. It’s a tremendous effort from debut director Leonardo D’Agostini. Furthermore, it’s polished, stylish, and it makes you laugh.

Bangla

This is a must-see cross-cultural rom-com. The director has taken his experiences as a second-generation Italian in Rome and turned them into this funny comedy featuring Carlotta Antonelli from Suburra: Blood on Rome. It’s fresh and sincere, the dialogue is brilliant, and it touches on the issues of being a second-gen Italian with great humour and warmth. I’ve seen it three times but I still laugh out loud.

If Only

Another debut film from Ginerva Elkann, this festival highlight opened the Locarno Film Festival only weeks ago and stars heartthrob Riccardo Scamarcio and the always magnificent Alba Rohrwacher. It’s a tender portrait of a dysfunctional family with some beautiful comic moments. The story, from the eight-year-old protagonist’s point of view, follows three Paris-based children sent to stay with their arty and broke Italian father one winter.

The Vice of Hope

This gritty new drama from the director of Indivisible is set in the lawless area outside Naples. It’s the story of a woman who works for a baby trafficking ring and faces a crisis of conscience when she unexpectedly finds herself pregnant. Director Edoardo de Angelis creates another world with trash scarred beaches and a stunning mix of Neapolitan and African music.

Twin Flower

Directed by Laura Luchetti, this evocative film features non-actors as two troubled teens on the run. The Sardinia-set drama is a portrait of lost innocence against the physical backdrop of the rich countryside. It has screened in multiple festivals around the world, including Toronto and London, and has picked up numerous awards.

The Lavazza Italian Film Festival runs in Perth from 2 – 23 October at Palace Cinemas. See more on their website.

Image and content credit: Lavazza Italian Film Festival

 

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