3rd Annual Italian Contemporary Film Festival
June 12 – 20
In Toronto, Vaughan, Hamilton, Montreal and Quebec City
In many ways ICFF is the little film festival that could. It is in its third year, with an increasingly impressive in number and quality of its cinematic offerings. 38 films will be shown, 10 North American premieres films, 3 world premieres and 3 Canadian premieres. The festival falls during Ontario Italian Heritage Month so it is fitting that some of Italy’s latest, most loved or rarest will find new audiences, across the province and in Montreal and Quebec. We checked out some of the ICFF films in advance and found plenty to celebrate.
The Mafia Only Kills in Summer (La mafia uccide solo d’estate) was the runaway hit at the 33rd Torino Film Festival last November written, directed by and starring Pif, one of Italy’s most beloved comic actors and filmmakers. It premiered to a standing ovation and the President of the Italian Senate called it “the best film on the mafia ever”. While funny and entertaining, the film also shows mobster life at its most vicious and its effect on the lives of ordinary people. It is seen largely through the eyes of a young boy who comes to know the reach of the mob in his hometown town of Sicily. It’s funny and satirical but has that unmistakable cast of deeply embedded crime.
Paolo Genovese’ Blame Freud (Tutta colpa di Freud) is a lighthearted comedy about love and how to get it. A psychiatrist and his three daughters are single and all looking for the right person. The father believes that 5% of men are worthy and his daughters do their best to confirm or deny through their own research. One falls in love with a physically music aficionado who resists her, another tries to switch from dating women to men with mixed results and a third begins dating a man the same age of her father. As for him, he is falling for the woman with the dog who happens to be his daughter’s older partner’s wife. It’s a sex farce that celebrates love in all its forms and family bonds, and looks wonderful in sunny, food mad Italy.
For gripping fact based police drama, the unsettling Like the Wind (Come il vento) from Marco S. Puccioni follows the dangerous career of Armida Miserere, a high-ranking police official who moves up the ranks to become governor of Italy’s most dangerous prisons. She’s tough as nails and does things her way, putting herself in harm’s way to carry out the law. Life becomes almost unbearable when her lover is murdered. Her determination to bring the killers to justice isn’t merely brave but heroic. Leading lady Valeria Golino splits her career between American and European films and is best known in Hollywood for her work with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, Sean Penn, Gary Oldman, Charlie Sheen and Quentin Tarantino. Golino’s performance in Like the Wind is formidable.
Andrea Segre’s First Snowfall (La prima neve) is a tough story of an African man living in the Italian mountains with his year old baby girl. His neighbours and friends are happy he’s moved into their remote village where he becomes a father figure to a young boy and a help to an elderly farmer. But he suffers in silence, mourning the death of his beloved wife in childbirth, and becomes emotionally dead. The only time he feels alive is with the young boy, roaming around the mountains and thinking about the future. His infant daughter’s eyes remind him of his tragic loss and he decides something has to change. First Snowfall is a sombre and slow moving film that hits strong emotional notes with powerful, low key performances. Its isolated mountain top locations are strikingly beautiful and the film never strays outside its natural world.
Special guests attending ICFF include actors Vittoria Puccini, Enrico Brignano, Stephen Baldwin, Nick Mancuso; directors Carlo Verdone, Paolo Genovese, Joe Medeiros, and Frank D’Angelo, and prolific young producer Andrea Iervolino and his co-producer Monika Bacardi. Director, actor and screenwriter, Carlo Verdone, will receive the ICFF Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his contribution to Italian cinema. Verdone is best known to North American audiences from his role in The Great Beauty which won an Academy Award®, a Golden Globe® and BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Language Film for 2013. Verdone will attend the North American premiere of Under a Lucky Star (Sotto una buona stella) at TIFF Bell Lightbox on Thursday June 19 at 9 p.m.
For more information, please check out ICFF films and information at: