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Italian Race

10 highlights of Lavazza Italian Film Festival 2016

Festival director Elysia Zeccola Hill gives her picks of the Lavazza Italian Film Festival

By Nick Dent
The Space Between

1. Australian-Italian co-production The Space Between

“The director, Ruth Borgobello, is a Melbourne girl. She used to come to the Italian Film Festival as a patron, and now she has made this film and approached us to be involved. It’s a cross-cultural romance starring Australian actress Maeve Dermody; her character goes on a family mission to a beautiful part of northern Italy and meets Marco, played by Flavio Parenti. Ruth and Maeve will be in town to attend the Q&A and premiere.” 

Where Am I Going?

2. Where Am I Going? – the highest grossing Italian film ever

“It hit a nerve; Italians absolutely loved it. It’s a very silly comedy about a public servant who is obsessed with holding onto his cushy desk job where he doesn’t have to lift a finger. People were just rolling in the aisles when I saw it. Literally falling off their chairs.” 

Rocco and His Brothers

3. Luchino Visconti’s 1960 epic Rocco and His Brothers

“It’s been newly restored – an early, grittier film from the maker of Death in Venice and The Leopard. Martin Scorsese says it’s a masterpiece and I’m looking forward to seeing it on the big screen in all its glory. At the Astor we have 4K projection, which is pretty exciting (and restored 3K everywhere else).”

Perfect Strangers

4. Satirical comedy Perfect Strangers

“It’s been a huge box office hit and it’s got a great ensemble cast. A group of friends have a dinner party and one comes up with the idea that they should all put their phones in the middle of the table and any message or voice call that comes through they have to make it public, read it out or put it on speakerphone. Everyone thinks no one has any secrets but of course, they do.”

88 Days

5. Australian documentary 88 Days

“It’s only a 35-minute documentary but it is so interesting and we’ve added a panel discussion. It’s about the wave of young Italians who can’t find jobs coming to Australia. There’s a certain type of visa here: if they do an 88-day stay on a farm doing fruit picking, then they are eligible for the next-level visa. Their impressions of Australia are really interesting.”

Italian Race

6. Gran turismo drama Italian Race

“It’s about a young woman who is fighting to save her family home. She’s a racer and her brother, played by Stefano Accorsi, is a washed-up champion and she needs his help to win. It’s really entertaining.”


7. Venice Film Festival award-winning intersex story Arianna

“The first line in the film is that she feels she was born three times: first as a boy, the second time as a girl – which is when she is three and her parents decide to make her a girl – and then as a teenager when she realises she’s not developing like the girls around her. It’s a beautiful story about finding your identity.”


8. Romance behind bars in Fiore

Fiore is a prison drama direct from the Cannes Film Festival. It’s neo-realist in style because several performers are non-actors who have spent time in youth detention centres.” 

Don't Be Bad

9. Hard-hitting crime tale Don’t Be Bad

“It’s a gritty drama set in the Roman suburb of Ostia. This is Italy’s seedy underbelly that you won’t see on your Italian holiday. I thought the performances from the two leads were excellent.”  

Roman Holiday

10. Hepburn and Peck in 1953 Hollywood classic Roman Holiday

“It’s a postcard from Rome – sailing around Rome on the back of a Vespa seeing all the sights. It’s one of the world’s most loved romantic comedies and a very nice way to end the festival.” 


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