In the face of the increasing cynicism and self-self-self-referentialness of art, thank god for the Italians. They still like romance in their films the way they insist on full fat milk in their coffee.
Now in its 14th season, the Italian FIlm Festival promises to return "like the lingering embrace of a cherished lover". Twenty-seven films will deliver stories in which uncontrolled passions run high. Highlights include A Five Star Life (Viaggio Sola), the tale of a jetsetting hotel critic who knows her five stars from her four but whose analytical faculties let her down when it comes to her own life; A Perfect Family (Una famiglia perfetta), a comedy about a rich but lonely man who 'rents' a family for Christmas and even writes a script for each member; and Ali Blue Eyes, a Romeo and Juliet-esque drama driven by a taboo love affair and a stabbing.
Both opening and closing nights will feature films that'll make you want to go to Rome: Paolo Sorrentino's The Great Beauty, starring Toni Servillo as a renowned journalist and ladies man who once dreamed of becoming a novelist, and Fellini's 1972 classic Roma. Young European star Clara Ponsot will be making guest appearances in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane, presenting her new film, Cosimo and Nicole.
Screenings at Palace Centro and Barracks. Image: The Great Beauty