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The Italian Film Festival's Packed 2021 Program Is Here to Make You Crave European Getaways

This year's festival will tour a 26-movie lineup of new and classic dramas, thrillers, comedies and documentaries around Australia from October to December.
By Sarah Ward
September 30, 2021
By Sarah Ward
September 30, 2021

International travel could possibly be back on the cards for Australians by Christmas, but you'll be able to get a 26-film glimpse of Italy first. The reason: the 2021 Italian Film Festival. As it does every year, it's showcasing a stacked lineup of new and classic cinema from its chosen part of the globe, as part of its touring program.

In a change from previous years, this year's fest will start in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, then move to Byron Bay and Sydney in line with New South Wales' roadmap out of lockdowns. Next, it'll hit up Canberra and Melbourne as they emerge from stay-at-home conditions as well.

Wherever you're located, your leg of the festival will start with The Ties — and with a marriage in crisis. Starring Alba Rohrwacher (Happy as Lazzaro) and Luigi Lo Cascio (Human Capital), and helmed by Daniele Luchetti (La Nostra Vita, My Brother is an Only Child), this moving film follows a couple's tumultuous romance over the course of decades. It heads to the Italian Film Festival after opening last year's Venice Film Festival, and becoming the first Italian movie in more than a decade to do the latter.

At the other end of the 2021 Italian Film Festival, the event will close with a classic: Roberto Rosselini's Rome, Open City. It's part of a four-film retrospective of the director's work, and also falls within the fest's look back at iconic Italian leading ladies. This event always comes with a big appreciation for Italy's filmmaking past, which is where documentary Fellini Forward: From the Creative Genius of Federico Fellini, about the acclaimed director, also fits in.

Elsewhere, festival highlights include Cannes Film Festival Director's Fortnight winner To Chiara, about a 15-year-old who discovers her father might have criminal ties; Nanni Moretti's Three Floors, which is set across a Rome apartment block; Hidden Away, a biopic about artist Antonio Ligabue; and You Came Back, a thriller that makes ample use of Venice's lagoons. Or, there's also comedy Three Perfect Daughters; drama Tigers, about footballer Martin Bengtsson; and Sirley, which sees director Elisa Amoruso draw upon her adolescence for her first fictional film.


Wednesday, October 20–Sunday, November 14 — Palace James Street and Palace Centro, Brisbane
Wednesday, October 20–Sunday, November 14 — Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas and Palace Nova Prospect Cinemas, Adelaide
Wednesday, October 20–Sunday, November 14 — Palace Raine Square, Luna Leederville, Luna on SX and Windsor Cinema, Perth
Friday, October 20–Sunday, November 7 — Palace Byron Bay, Byron Bay
Wednesday, October 27–Sunday, November 21 — Palace Norton, Palace Verona, Palace Central and Chauvel Cinema, Sydney
Wednesday, November 17–Sunday, December 12 — Palace Electric, Canberra
Friday, November 19–Sunday, December 12 — Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Westgarth, The Kino, Pentridge Cinema, The Astor and Cinema Nova, Melbourne

The 2021 Italian Film Festival tours Australia between Wednesday, October 20–Sunday, December 12. For more information and to buy tickets, visit the festival website.

Published on September 30, 2021 by Sarah Ward

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