The best Italian-language cinema on offer is readily at Brisbane’s fingertips from September 25th through to 16th October at the 2019 Lavazza Italian Film Festival presented by Palace Cinemas.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, this year’s festival promises something for everyone, with the Australian premiere of Ron Howard’s inspiring documentary Pavarotti (which will close out the festival), which details the life and career of the late, much loved operatic singer, to the Australian-Italian romantic drama Promised starring Tina Arena and Paul Mercurio, to name but a few.
Some of this year’s major highlights include The Vice of Hope (Il Vizio Della Speranza), a bleak social drama centering around human trafficking, specifically the sale of newborn infants. The “surrogacy mafia”, as it can be known, is an interesting topic to tackle, however unpleasant it may be to face, and Edoardo De Angelis’s tragic film serves as a portrait of the woeful female condition in a horrific industry dominated by a brutal masculinity.
For those after something a little less confronting and more bittersweet, If Life Gives You Lemons (Un Giorno All’Improvviso) is prime viewing. Though its title suggests a film perhaps more upbeat than it plays out, Ciro D’Emilio’s coming-of-age drama is nonetheless an emotionally effective tale that focuses on the fierce bond between mother and son, and just how strong it can remain in the face of adversity. Though there’s a visual weathered and unsentimental lather laced across the screen, If Life Gives You Lemons strives to find the good in every haunting situation.
Bangla, another of this year’s entries having its Australian premiere screening throughout the festival, is an Italian-Bengali hybrid romantic comedy that’s sure to win over the crowds. An endearing film, one that could easily be likened to The Big Sick, writer/director/star Phaim Buyan has created a story born from his own life experience as a second-generation Italian who falls for a feisty Italian girl. Caught between the traditional values of his Bangladeshi family and wanting to follow his heart, Bangla, much like its lead, is a melting pot of genres that fuse together to create a genuine winner.
Book-ended by the comedic drama The Champion (Il Campione), set within the glossy world of millionaire Italian footballers, as the festival’s opening film, and welcoming special event guests as Megan Gale, Paul Mercurio and Tina Arena, Lavazza Italian Film Festival 2019 promises to be the most favoloso year yet.
For further information, session times and ticket prices, head over to the official website here.