First 12 Films Announced for 2017 Italian Film Festival

‘Fortunata’ | Image Provided

The 18th Lavazza Italian Film Festival will be kicking off in September, providing cinemagoers with over 30 diverse films from Italy.

Presented by Palace, the 2017 festival will be hitting 7 Australian cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart.

“The Venice, Rome, Berlin and Cannes film festivals have featured an exciting range of star-studded Italian films in the last 12 months and we are excited to be presenting them on the big screen,” Festival Director Elysia Zeccola said in a statement.

“The festival is a celebration of Italian cinema, language, culture and la dolce vita and you can’t find that sitting on your couch at home.”

12 films from the 2018 program have been announced. As per the festival’s press release, they include:

Fortunata :

Starring Jasmine Trinca (Wondrous Boccaccio LIFF’15) in a performance that earned her the Best Actress Award in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival and the Best Lead Actress Award at this weeks Nastri d’Argento Awards. Sergio Castellitto’s emotionally charged tale of a single mother fighting for her independence will captivate audiences. Also stars Stefano Accorsi (HBO’s The Young Pope).

It’s the Law (L’ora Legale) :

Box-office smash hit and 2017 Nastri d’Argento Award winner for Best Comedy, this feature from directing duo Salvo Ficarra and Valentino Picone is about small town politics in the Sicilian village of Pietrammare, where the tainted leadership of a crooked mayor is set to be challenged. The ensemble cast includes Ficarra and Picone alongside Vincenzo Amato, Leo Gullotta, Tony Sperandeo and Antonio Catania.

Messy Christmas (Non c’è più religione) :

From the director of Welcome to the South (LIFF ’11) and Welcome to the North (LIFF ’12) Luca Miniero comes this hilarious new comedy set on the small island of Porto Buio, where the town mayor (Claudio Bisio, What a Beautiful Surprise LIFF ’15) enlists the help of local Islam convert Bilal (Alessandro Gassman, God Willing LIFF ’15) to find a child to play baby Jesus in the traditional Christmas nativity scene… but as the island birth rate has been zero for years the only solution may be to change Jesus’ nationality, and even his religion.

An Almost Perfect Town (Un paese quasi perfetto) :

Directed by Massimo Gaudioso, screenwriter of numerous Italian films such as Tale of Tales (LIFF ’15) and Gomorrah. Starring Silvio Orlando (HBO’s The Young Pope, The Human Factor LIFF ’14). Set in the stunning mountains of the Lucan Dolomites of Southern Italy, this small town is deserted by most of its youth leaving just a small group of ex-miners. But when a new factory is announced, this could be the solution to all the town’s problems.

Let Yourself Go! :

Winner of the Italian Golden Globe for Best Comedy, Francesco Amato’s Let Yourself Go stars Toni Servillo (The Great Beauty LIFF ’13) as a Jewish psychoanalyst who lives on the same floor as his ex-wife Giovanna. After a minor illness, his doctor prescribes physical activity and at the gym he meets Claudia, a personal trainer who will change his life.

I Was a Dreamer (Il più grande sogno) :

Mirko Frezza plays a hardened ex-con who returns to his working-class Rome suburb in this moving drama, directed by Michele Vannucci and starring Alessandro Borghi (Don’t Be Bad LIFF ’16, Fortunata LIFF ’17). But the path to redemption is difficult when your father is a criminal and temptation is around every corner.

Wife & Husband (Moglie e marito) :

The feature debut from Simone Godano is a body-swap comedy starring Pierfrancesco Favino (Suburra) and Kasia Smutniak (Perfect Strangers LIFF ’16) as Andrea and Sofia. After ten years of marriage they are on the verge of divorce but when a scientific experiment leaves their bodies seemingly irreversibly swapped, they have no choice but to live each other’s lives… and they are in for some surprises.

Naples ’44 (Napoli ’44) :

Benedict Cumberbatch narrates the fascinating documentary adapted from British Intelligence Officer Norman Lewis’s memoir. Lewis entered war-torn Naples with the American Fifth Army in 1943 at the end of WWII observing the complex social cauldron of a city that contrived every day the most incredible ways of fighting to survive. This is a powerful condemnation of the horrors of war.

These Days (Questi giorni) :

From Giuseppe Piccioni, These Days follows four young women on a road trip to Belgrade in an adventure which will mark a turning point in their lives. Featuring Margherita Buy (Me, Myself & Her LIFF ’16) alongside Filippo Timi (Vincere LIFF ’09) and Sergio Rubini (Mafia & Red Tomatoes LIFF ’15).

Summertime (L’estate addosso) :

Directed by Gabriele Muccino (The Pursuit of Happyness). A gay couple living in San Francisco take in two teens traveling from Italy to start a new life in America. The four become fast friends and embark on enthusiastic explorations of love, life, and themselves, trying to discover and define who they are during a summer they’ll never forget.


Director Lisa Azuelos confirms her status as a strong director of actors, with Italian model-turned-actress Sveva Alviti, stealing the show in every scene of Dalida. Based on the true story of acclaimed music icon “Dalida” who gained celebrity in the 50s, singing in Italian, French, Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew and German – she had a repertoire of hits as vast and varied as her private life was tumultuous and tragic. Also starring Italian heartthrob Riccardo Scamarcio (Wondrous Boccaccio LIFF ’15) as her brother Orlando.

From Naples with Love (Troppo napoletano):

Available for school bookings is this joyous romantic comedy about Ciro, an 11-year old kid who falls head-over-heels for a new girl at school and loses his once healthy appetite causing his panicked mother Barbara (singer Serena Rossi) to take him to a child psychologist!

The festival will be screening across Palace screens on the following dates:

  • Sydney: Sept 12- Oct 8, Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinemas
  • Melbourne: Sept 14 to Oct 8, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Westgarth, Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Kino Cinemas, The Astor Theatre
  • Canberra: Sept 14 to Oct 8, Palace Electric Cinemas
  • Brisbane: Sept 20 to Oct 8, Palace Barracks and Palace Centro
  • Adelaide: Sept 13 to Oct 1, Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas
  • Perth: Sept 21 to Oct 11, Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX
  • Hobart: Sept 21 to Oct 1, The State Cinema

More info can be found on the festival’s official website:

‘It’s the Law’ | Image provided