Focus on Italy

Six outstanding Italian films at the 2018 Sydney Film Festival

There are always a few Italian films at the Sydney Film Festival, but it has to be said, compared to other European countries, Italy does often seem underrepresented. There may well be many reasons for that, but this year at least, SFF is presenting a special program stand called Focus on Italy. It’s showcasing of a strong selection of six Italian films all demonstrating the craft, creativity and culture of Italian storytellers, and has been arranged in partnership with the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, Associazione Nazionale Industrie Cinematografiche Audiovisive Multimediali, and the Italian Cultural Institute in Sydney.

The Focus on Italy strand includes: 

Daughter of Mine
Laura Bispuri’s follow-up to Sworn Virgin reunites her with star Alba Rohrwacher in this emotional, Sardinia-set story of a young girl torn between two mothers. “A wrenching, heartfelt drama,” writes Ed Frankl in The Film Stage. “With an unfussy social commentary that again seeks a new definition of womanhood.” Daughter of Mine (pic above) is screening in the SFF Official Competition, and director Laura Bispuri will be a guest of the festival.

Nico, 1988
The winner of the Horizons Award for Best Film at Venice chronicles the final years of legendary The Velvet Underground singer Nico. She’s vividly played by Trine Dyrholm (A Royal Affair, The Commune) who Variety claims. “looks like a long-black-haired, coldly fierce erotic-zombie version of Roseanne Barr.” Sounds good to us!

Beautiful Things 
Winner of the NEXT: WAVE Award at CPH:DOX, and Best Italian Film at Venice, Beautiful Things is an exquisite meditation on consumerism and waste. Director Giorgio Ferrero and producer Federico Biasin will be festival guests.

A Ciambra 
With the cast playing versions of themselves, A Ciambra (pic below) is a very detailed and authentic look at a 14-year-old growing up too fast in the Romani community of Calabria. This is a particularly strong and powerful film from director Jonas Carpignano, one which attracted the attention of Martin Scorsese – who came on board as executive producer. ” In its mood and methods,” writes A.O. Scott in the New York Times, ” A Ciambra pays homage to the work of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, the living masters of European realist cinema.”

Friends By Chance
In this charming and unusual buddy comedy, a 22-year-old slacker and 85-year-old poet somehow form an unlikely connection.”A particularly heartfelt piece that mixes autobiographical elements and novel-esque invention…with endearment and polite humour.” writes CineEuropa.

The Ark of Disperata
In a small Italian town beset with economic depression, high unemployment and crime called Disperata, the desperate mayor finds purpose teaching literature to prison inmates, in this funny, inspirational film from award-winning director Edoardo Winspeare. Screen writer Alessandro Valenti will be festival guest.

* All festival films can be booked online of course, and SFF’s swish new website, especially the much needed improvements to its program schedule page makes planning your festival experience a breeze.
SFF runs 6-17 June at various venues, including the magnificent State Theatre, the not-so-magnificent Event Cinemas George St, Dendy Opera Quays, Hayden Orpheum and our very own inner west favourite, Dendy Newtown.