Italian Film Festival

Film Archive

We’ve featured many films in the past. Peruse a list of films we’ve featured below.


Info: Italy/Switzerland, 2018, 93 mins, DCP

Language: Italian with English Subtitles

Director: Francesco Rizzi

Cast: Vinicio Marchioni, Sabine Timoteo


  • Wednesday January 8, 2020 - 6:30 pm

"Cooly assured, impressive… the two excellent leads negotiate the script’s more jagged bends with complete conviction, allowing us to believe that even amid pretense — and sometimes maybe because of it — mutual understanding is possible." Jessica Kiang, Variety

"Elegant and sophisticated." Kiko Vega, Espinof

"Teasingly enigmatic." Wendy Ide, Screen

This enigmatic beauty, a quietly audacious directorial debut, marks Francesco Rizzi as a talent to watch. A Swiss-Italian co-production, set, for the most part, in the environs of an anonymous, transient nexus of autostrade, railway tracks and service stations, the movie is part mystery, part love story, with all of the tension and menace emanating from the anguished magnetic attraction between the taciturn Michael (Vinicio Marchioni) and the lonely, unhappy Anna (Sabine Timoteo), whom he can’t stop watching. What binds these two lost souls gradually becomes evident, even as their relationship spirals into murky psycho-sexual role playing. “Cronofobia” means fear of time passing, Against expectations, this sleek, icy two-hander pauses, briefly, to take note of precious moments of insight and connection.


Info: Italy, 2018, 106 mins, DCP

Language: Italian with English Subtitles

Director: Valerio Mieli

Cast: Luca Marinelli, Linda Caridi, Giovanni Anzaldo


  • Wednesday January 8, 2020 - 8:20 pm

"An ambitious tour-de-force…. Using camera techniques, slow motion, superimposed images and constant back-and-forth editing (the pic is impressively cut without disorienting the viewer by Desideria Rayner), Mieli conveys a strong sense of the fluidity of time and the impermanence of memory. Almost before the characters’ feelings can be grasped and understood, they impalpably dissolve into something else. As the pair grope their way through the modern conventions of romance and relationships, they test boundaries, change their minds, have flashes of recognition amid a flurry of doubts. Later, as they look back in time, they see things differently." Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter

"An unusual and courageous experiment, especially for Italian cinema… Images, colours, emotions, sounds, smells. It’s all there, at the heart of Ricordi?, a titanic editing job… [This is] a refined film – put together almost frame by frame – which gives life to the mind’s movements and concatenations." Vittoria Scarpa, Cineuropa

Italian Film Festival favourite Luca Marinelli (They Call Me Jeeg; Rainbow; Martin Eden) stars in this ambitious, moving meditation on love and time from filmmaker Valerio Mieli (Ten Winters).

Proving again it’s not what you do, but the way that you do it, film tells a completely banal love story: boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl. Yet Mieli has revitalized this old story by, in effect, throwing all the pieces in the end and seeing where they come down. That is: every sequence neatly cuts back and forth between different stages of the couple’s relationship, from courtship to breakup, love to hate, and back again, in a manner that is influenced by such masters of montage as Terence Malick and Nic Roeg. What’s more each shot is aligned from the boy’s nostalgic perspective, or filtered through the memory of the girl (Linda Candi). Through this structural device, Mieli has made a film that is about perception, time and memory as much as it is about love.


Info: Italy, UK, USA, 2019, 115 mins, DVD

Language: Italian with English Subtitles

Director: Abel Ferrara

Cast: Willem Dafoe, Christina Chiriac


  • Thursday January 9, 2020 - 8:15 pm

"Dafoe brings a pulsing gusto" Hollywood Reporter

"Ferrara is on to something: the chasm that can open up between men and women in an age where the continuity of love has been devalued…. It feels alive as a movie. Dafoe won’t let a scene go by without finding an angle on it; he keeps you watching." Owen Gleiberman, Variety

Willem Dafoe plays filmmaker Abel Ferrara, more or less, in this deeply personal and very moving drama about an aging American artist in Rome, his beautiful but distant, much younger European wife (played by Ferrara’s real-life wife, Christina Chriac), and their infant daughter (played by, you guessed it, Chiriac and Ferrara’s daughter). Even their apartment plays itself.

But don’t assume this is a documentary or even straight autobiography (at least, one hopes not). Tommaso is an ex addict, still in the programme, and now a Buddhist, but finding it harder and harder to stay in touch with his wife, who may or may not be having an affair. As his resentment and anxiety build into anger, it appears something will have to give.

Dafoe, a Ferrara regular who last collaborated with him on Pasolini, captures the filmmaker’s shambling, self-destructive sincerity and passion. But it’s probable that Ferrara also cast him with half an eye on The Last Temptation of Christ. In one (dream) scene, after sitting and talking with a group of African immigrants in the park one night, Tommaso reaches into his chest and proffers them his heart… It’s a gesture of such generosity and hubris, it’s hard to think of another filmmaker who could pull it off.

“Shot by cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger (a longtime collaborator of Werner Herzog) on a few sweltering days in the Italian capital, the aesthetic stays in keeping with the Ferrara brand: coarsely beautiful in a way; lots of Steadicam; a colour palette of blues and burnt gold; and hints of noir in the use of shadow and lattice blinds. The scenes come at us almost as short vignettes: his daily routines; the exceptionally well-acted A.A. meetings; his fighting or intimacy (or both) with Christine. And then there are his dream sequences, of which there are many and during which he touches on his deeper anxieties–namely being with a much younger woman who may have daddy issues, of remaining faithful to her, the effect all this might have on their child, and all the resulting Catholic guilt.” Rory O’Connor, The Film Stage


Info: France, Italy, 1994, 111 mins, DCP

Language: Italian, French with English Subtitles

Director: Gerard Corbiau

Cast: Stefano Dionisi, Enrico Lo Verso, Elsa Zylberstein, Caroline Cellier, Jeroen Krabbé


  • Tuesday January 7, 2020 - 8:00 pm

"For all its emotional extravagance and sheer Baroque lushness, Farinelli is actually a triumph of taut control and superb structuring." Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

"Great fun and sufficiently thoughtful and complex to give food for continuing thought." Arthur Lazere, Culture Vulture

In the 18th century during Handel’s time, no man was more famous or more celebrated than the castrato, Farinelli. The incredible, true story of the world famous opera singer – who was castrated during childhood in order to preserve his voice – comes to life in this Oscar-nominated drama of high notes and even higher passions.

The pop sensation of the mid 1700s, Farinelli (Stefano Dionisi) was closely bound to his brother, Riccardo (Enrico Lo Verso), who became in effect his personal composer, manager, and his stand-in for Farinelli’s bedroom trysts. But when the great Handel (Jeroen Krabbe) comes courting, Riccardo is determined to block his path…

The Invisible Witness / Il testimone invisibile

Info: Italy, 2018, 102 mins, DCP

Language: Italian with English Subtitles

Director: Stefano Mordini

Cast: Riccardo Scamarcio, Miriam Leone, Maria Paiato


  • Tuesday January 7, 2020 - 6:00 pm

Beginning as a classic “locked room” murder mystery, The Invisible Witness is a thoroughly satsifying whodunit, full of unexpected twists and turns. Adriano (Riccardo Scamarcio) s a rich and successful entrepreneur, now on trial for the murder of his presumed mistress. Although he was discovered alone in the hotel room with the body, he denies the charge. In the run up to trial he undergoes an intensive cross examination by one of his legal team. Virginia (Maria Paiato) tears his story apart, and demands that he come clean with her so that she can prepare a more solid defence…


Info: Italy, France, West Germany, 1973, 237 mins, DCP

Language: Italian, German, French with English Subtitles

Director: Luchino Visconti

Cast: Helmut Berger, Romy Schneider, Silvana Mangano, Gert Fröbe, Trevor Howard


  • Tuesday January 7, 2020 - 1:00 pm

"Magesterial." Slant magazine

"Grand and melancholy." Richard Brody, New Yorker

Presented here in its full length version, this is – appropriately – the most extravagant costume drama from Luchino Visconti, the Italian count whose sumputuous period pieces include SensoThe Leopard, and Death in Venice.

King Ludwig of Bavaria, whose reign extended from 1864-1886, is remembered for his spectacular and ornate castles, for his patronage of the great composer Richard Wagner, and for going barking mad. Visconti (who also cowrote the screenplay) doesn’t shortchange these elements, but provides a complex and haunting portrait of a doomed Romantic, an anguished sovereign who turns his back on power and politics to immerse himself in a world of art and beauty.

La Dolce Vita

Info: Italy, 1960, 174 mins, DCP

Language: Italian with English Subtitles

Director: Federico Fellini

Cast: Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Anouk Aimée, Yvonne Furneaux, Alain Cuny


  • Monday January 6, 2020 - 6:30 pm
  • Wednesday January 8, 2020 - 1:00 pm

"Everything has changed, and nothing has changed. How sour it still is." David Fear, Time Out (2011)

Federico Fellini was born 100 years ago, January 20, 1920. Sixty years ago, he released La Dolce Vita, an epochal movie, a film that that in so many ways defined the freedoms and frustrations of the 1960s, an international sensation that cemented Italian cinema’s reputation as a world-beater, and which would even impact the language: the term “paparazzi” derives from the photo journalist character named Paparazzo, here.

In La Dolce Vita (‘The Sweet Life’) Marcello Mastroianni’s playboy reporter is simultaneously repelled and attracted by the debauchery of Roman high society… an environment in which today’s celebrity super rich would feel right at home. Fellini sets the scale with one of the most audacious opening shots in the history of the movies: a helicopter lifting a statue of Christ up and out of the city of Rome. Later, there’s an even more iconic image, when busty starlet Anita Ekberg cavorts in the Trevi Fountain.

“The film first impinged on the world at large in February 1960 when foreign journalists reported back to their readers, listeners and viewers on the controversial reception in Italy, where it divided audiences, critics and clerics, and led to Fellini being both spat on and cheered at the Milan premiere. A sense of immense excitement was created, and when the movie reached London via Cannes, we went to see it expecting to be shocked. And we were, both by the frank treatment of sexual matters (especially of homosexuality, then illegal in Britain), by the blasphemy (though to fully appreciate this you had to be Catholic), and above all by the scope of its vision.

Fellini had won two Oscars for Best Foreign Language film in the 1950s (for La Strada and Nights of Cabiria) and was to win a further two (for  and Amarcord), but La Dolce Vita introduced him to a popular audience far beyond the art house circuit. It also introduced three terms into the English language. The first is ’Felliniesque’ as an adjective to describe something quirkily outlandish or bizarre in the style of the director. The second is ’paparazzi’, the pejorative term for brazen celebrity-stalking photographers, named after the journalist hero’s camera-toting sidekick Paparazzo, which in turn was borrowed from a hotelier in George Gissing’s 1901 travel book, By the Ionian Sea. The third, of course, is the title, La Dolce Vita, used ironically thereafter to describe a shallow materialistic lifestyle, though Fellini claimed he’d used it without irony to mean ’the sweetness of life’ rather than ’the sweet life’.

The movie centres on Marcello Rubini, a writer from a provincial middle-class family, who has set aside his literary ambitions to become a fashionable gossip columnist and reporter on the sensational activities of the smart sybarites around the Via Veneto. They’re an assortment of international aristocracy, showbiz folk, dubious nouveaux-riches, and their assorted hangers-on. He’s a handsome, ambitious, morally weak character, played by Marcello Mastroianni, an established matinee idol in Italy who was to become an international star through this movie. He was also to be Fellini’s alter ego in three further films, most significantly 8½ as a director reviewing his life while incapable of continuing production of an expensive film at Cinecittà.

Setting aside the small gestures, the delicate observation of daily life and the sympathetic characterisation associated with neo-realism, La Dolce Vita is a large-scale satire with grand set pieces and forceful visual metaphors. Its target is a godless society that has become a kind of hell (there are pointed references to Dante) and it has rightly been compared with TS Eliot’s depiction of a moribund post-First World War Europe in The Waste Land.” Philip French, The Guardian


Info: Italy, 1982, 101 mins, DCP

Language: Italian with English Subtitles

Director: Dario Argento

Cast: Anthony Franciosa, John Saxon, Daria Nicolodi, John Steiner


  • Sunday January 5, 2020 - 9:45 pm

"A masterpiece… Tenebrae is a riveting defense of auteur theory, ripe with self-reflexive discourse and various moral conflicts. It’s both a riveting horror film and an architect’s worst nightmare." Ed Gonzalez, Slant

From the tail-end of the giallo era, Tenebrae is the last word on the form from one of its undisputed masters, Dario Argento. With enough twists to make Gillian Flynn’s head spin off, this is a dazzlingly self-reflexive thriller about an American mystery writer, Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa), who comes to Italy to promote his newest novel, Tenebrae. Unfortunately, a razor-wielding serial killer is on the loose, taunting Neal and murdering those around him in gruesome fashion just like the character in his novel. As the mystery surrounding the killings spirals out of control, Neal investigates the crimes on his own, leading to a mind-bending, genre-twisting conclusion that will leave you breathless.

Featuring an amazing synth-music score from Claudio Simonetti, Fabio Pignatelli and Massimo Morante (formerly of Italian progressive-rock band, Goblin), Tenebrae is a decadent pleasure, a connoisseur’s kill movie… it is pretty obvious that the folks behind Basic Instinct and Seven must be counted among their number.

Our mini Gialli series also includes Blood and Black Lace (Friday and Wednesday), and The Fifth Cord (Saturday).

Martin Eden

Info: Italy, 2019, 128 mins, DCP

Language: Italian with English Subtitles

Director: Pietro Marcello

Cast: Luca Marinelli, Jessica Cressy, Vincenzo Nemolato, Marco Leonardi, Denise Sardisco


  • Sunday January 5, 2020 - 7:20 pm

"A spectacular performance… Marinelli is a force of nature in every scene and doesn’t play Eden so much as inhabit him." Boyd van Hoeij, Hollywood Reporter

"An absolute blast. Includes documentary footage, wealthy decadence, left-wing politics, angry speeches (in Italian!), beautiful women, square-jawed men, quotations from Baudelaire and the heroic deployment of manual typewriters, hand-rolled cigarettes, ascots and Volvo sedans. Everything I love in movies, more or less." AO Scott, New York Times

"One of the most epic-feeling Italian movies in years, a throwback to ’70s-era big-canvas statements. Lead actor Luca Marinelli, rousing in every scene, comes within hailing distance of the young Robert De Niro." Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York

Luca Marinelli (also to be seen in Ricordi? this week) stars as the aspiring writer in this audacious transposition of Jack London’s novel to Italy in the first half of the Twentieth Century. A working class auto-didact, Martin falls under the spell of wealthy, beautiful Elena (Jessica Cressy), and strives to prove himself worthy of her love. But as his fortunes shift he’s caught up in the clamour and sway of an intensely political period, with unexpected results.

Probably theboldest Italian film of the year, Martin Eden is in some senses a throwback to an earlier era of grandiose Italian political filmmaking, though it’s bravura switches in style and tone make it impossible to pinpoint a particular forebear.

Winner: Best Actor, Venice Film Festival; Platform Award, Toronto International Film Festival

Parents in Progress / Genitori quasi perfetti

Info: Italy, 2018, 87 mins, DCP

Language: Italian with English Subtitles

Director: Laura Chiossone

Cast: Anna Foglietta, Nicolò Costa, Paolo Calabresi, Lucia Mascino


  • Sunday January 5, 2020 - 5:30 pm

In this zippy comedy, Simona (Anna Foglietta) is a single mother in her forties, and lives for her son Filippo (Nicolò Costa). She feels terribly inadequate to the role and the organization of the party for his eighth birthday brings to light all her insecurities. Divided between her son’s desires and the will to protect him from the judgment of others, which can be fierce, Simona arrives on the day of the party full of expectations and anxieties. While both parents and children arrive at the party, we start composing a very diverse array of people with very different views, and while the children play in the living room, the adults in the kitchen pleasantly hate each other. Until an unexpected performance by Filippo breaks the mold and triggers a domino effect of actions and reactions that bring the party to derail…

Any parent will surely relate.

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