Cinema Paradiso

Few countries have produced a national cinema movement to match the vibrancy, innovation and distinction of Italian film down through the decades from such remarkable directors as Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, Francesco Rosi, Gillo Pontecorvo and brothers Paolo and
Vittorio Taviani.
Italian cinema continues to produce a wonderfully diverse range of accomplished films, and we are delighted to present many of them in this year’s festival programme. Pride of place goes to Marco Tullio Giordana’s magisterial epic, The Best of Youth (La Meglio Gioventù), a riveting, superbly acted drama following the experiences of two brothers through four decades of turbulent change, -personal, political and international – from the summer of 1966 to the spring of 2003.
One of the masters of Italian cinema, Marco Bellochio, whose career has spanned the entire period covered by The Best of Youth, deals specifically with one of the key events in that film’s background in his powerful new movie, Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, Notte). This chilling political drama thoughtfully confronts a convulsive event in recent Italian history – the 1978 kidnapping of the former prime minister, Aldo Moro.
Another titan of Italian cinema, Bernardo Bertolucci, is represented on the programme with his finest film in years, The Dreamers, which is set in Paris during the heady days of May 1968 and replete with ingeniously employed movie references. We are also very pleased to present this year’s Italian entry for the Oscars, I’m Not Scared (Io Non Ho Paura), directed by Gabriele Salvatores, who won the Oscar for best foreign-language film with his 1991 movie, Mediterraneo.
On a lighter note, Alessandro Piva’s My Brother-in-Law (Mio Cognato) is a breezy, sardonic comedy that is also notable as one of three new Italian films in the festival featuring the truly versatile actor, Luigi Lo Cascio, who also stars in The Best of Youth and Good Morning, Night.
One of Italian cinema’s great actresses, Stefania Sandrelli, features among the cast of Gabriele Muccino’s exuberant romantic comedy, The Last Kiss (Ultimo Bacso), one of the most popular films of recent years with Italian cinemagoers.
The programme also includes Richard Loncraine’s critically acclaimed UK/Italian co-production, My House in Umbria, based on the novella by William Trevor and featuring a fine international cast led by Maggie Smith, Timothy Spall, Chris Cooper, Ronnie Barker, Benno Furmann and Giancarlo Giannini. Rounding out this diverse season is Kurdish director Hiner Saleem’s Vodka Lemon, a co-production from Armenia, Switzerland, France and Italy, which injects wit and insight into the most potentially grim of situations.