This year’s sumptuous servings at the Lavazza Italian Film Festival are sure to leave mouths watering. Italy, a country with a rich history of brilliant cinema, doesn’t fail to disappoint; the 2014 festival is a fantastic celebration of all things Italian. So get ready to talk at lightning pace, in a loud voice (and don’t forget to use your hands) as we give you some of our top picks for this year’s Lavazza Italian Film Festival.
I CAN QUIT WHENEVER I WANT (SMETTO QUANDO VOGLIO)
‘I Can Quit Whenever I Want’ is an outrageous Italian comedy that had me in stitches. If you can imagine ‘Breaking Bad’ but with the comedy turned up to 11 and the serious undertones turned down to 1, you’d have an idea of what this movie was like. It follows the story of a group of unemployed university PhD professors, whose funding is cut and are forced to turn to making synthetic super drugs, subsequently becoming a new Roman drug cartel - but what else are degrees in neuroscience, anthropology or archaeology for, right?
THE MAFIA ONLY KILLS IN SUMMER (LA MAFIA UCCIDE SOLO D'ESTATE)
There is something about the Italian sense of humour that is hard to resist; it's possible it translates so well because of the self-deprecating nature and the Italian ability not take themselves too seriously (unless it's about food, wine or soccer). But one thing I remember always being instructed never to talk about to an Italian under any circumstance (my primary school years were spent in Sydney’s Little Italy) was the Mafia. But if you can't talk about the Mafia, who can? Italians – that who! Treading a fine line, ‘The Mafia Only Kills In Summer’ is a wonderful and funny look at the Sicilian Mafia scene in the 80s and is definitely worth getting along to see.
DARKER THAN MIDNIGHT PIÙ BUIO DI MEZZANOTTE)
This is a powerful journey of self-discovery/coming of age film, once again beginning in Sicily. When Davide is estranged from his family, he lives on the streets where he is taken in by (for want of a better term) a pimp. So begins exposure and involvement in the Roman prostitution and drag scene. With another powerful message, this film is beautifully handled in all aspects: writing, acting and directing - for a first time director, Sebastiano Riso is one to keep an eye on.
STAY AWAY FROM ME (STAI LONTANA DI ME)
Bordering on this silly, this is a romantic comedy for even the hardest heart out there. Brilliantly ironic, Jacopo is a renowned relationship therapist, but has been cursed to bring terrible luck to every woman that he ends up dating himself. It's the kind of rom-com everyone can enjoy, and if you are looking for a funny, light and impressive place to take a date, this is definitely the movie that will do it.
This festival is a fantastic example of the new scene that is developing in Italy and the high quality of films that it is producing. There is an undoubtable fire that all of these films possess, perhaps the inherently Italian passion courses through their veins. My favourite musical notation from my high school days was ‘Con Fuoco’ - literally meaning to play “with fire” - and this is certainly what these films do. Grab a glass of pinot grigio and settle in for another fantastic year of the Lavazza Italian Film Festival.