The Italian Film Festival opens with a scandal!

Seduction, glamour, corruption, drugs and raucous poolside parties: the life and times of scandal-plagued Silvio Berlusconi have long-demanded a screen depiction, and who better to deliver it than Paolo Sorrentino.

The Academy Award-winning director of The Great Beauty and The Young Pope returns to the screen in spectacular fashion with the epic Loro – a dazzling, topical and no-holds-barred depiction of life in Italy under the glistening eye of modern Europe’s most infamous politician. 

Loro will have its Australian premiere as the Opening Night Gala presentation of the 19th Lavazza Italian Film Festival at Palace Norton Street on Sept 11, and other states shortly after. While the film screened in two parts for its Italian-spring release, Australians will be amongst the first in the world to see it in single epic form, within days of its premiere screenings at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.

Offering a timely commentary on the excesses and follies of the power-hungry, Sorrentino unpeels the complex personality and motivations of the billionaire media tycoon and politician during a tumultuous period in his career, boldly speculating on what may or may not have taken place behind closed doors, and skilfully threading together stories of the people around him and their attempts to either ingratiate or distance themselves from him.

Tickets to the Italian Film Festival Opening Night are now on-sale at You can make bookings to any session in the festival (advisable – as popular session do fill up). There are plenty more Loro screenings to choose from (eight at Palace Norton St alone), and while you’re there, check out the full line-up of over 30 of the latest and greatest from Italy’s best filmmakers.

One very topical film with a catchy title caught our eye. My Big Gay Italian Wedding – based on the hit off-Broadway hit play, takes us on a heart-warming and chaotic trip to the altar as a young man travels to his conservative hometown to marry his fiancé.

This year’s Special Presentations are a particular treat for film buffs: They include Alice Rohrwacher’s enchanting third film Happy As Lazzaro, the 2018 winner of Best Original Screenplay at Cannes Film Festival. The Hollywood Reporter labelled it, “Italian to its core, deeply anchored in the country’s centuries-old culture and steeped in its customs and storytelling traditions”. And from Matteo Garrone, the director of Gomorrah comes Dogman – the Cannes Film Festival award-winning tale of a dog-lover in desolate Southern Italy who is driven to terrifying extremes by a violent local bully. Noted Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw called Dogman, “Terrifically good… A movie with incomparable bite and strength.”

Closing the festival is the horror masterpiece Suspiria (1977), Dario Argento’s neon-soaked nightmare. Still the most famous of all Italian horror movies, it can now be seen in its digitally restored glory. Four years in the making, this restoration was made from the uncut 98 minute 35mm Italian camera negative, revealing layers of unseen colour and with a remixed surround-soundtrack. Catch it now – before you see Academy Award-nominated director Luca Guadagnino’s (Call Me By Your Name, A Bigger Splash) hotly anticipated remake!

The Lavazza Italian Film Festival is at these Palace locations:

Sydney: 11 Sept  – 7 Oct, Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinemas, Palace Central

Canberra: 12 Sept – 7 Oct, Palace Electric Cinemas

Melbourne: 13 Sept – 7 Oct, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Westgarth, Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Kino Cinemas, The Astor Theatre

Brisbane: 19 Sept – 14 Oct, Palace Barracks and Palace Centro

Adelaide: 19 Sept – 14 Oct, Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas and Palace Nova Prospect Cinemas

Perth: 27 Sept – 17 Oct, Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX

Hobart: 18 Oct – 24 Oct, The State Cinema

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