Italian Festival - coming up!

Feb 09, 2018 1124

BY: Maria Berry

The films have been selected. The entertainers are warming up their instruments and vocal cords. The young NDI dancers are rehearsing two sensational performances. Three mouthwatering event menus are in the works. See the full program on the Italian Festivals of New Mexico website at

Over the next couple of weeks our Italy in New Mexico posts will give you a behind the scenes look at Festival 2018. We’ll tell you more about the events, our talented performers, our amazing beneficiary – NDI New Mexico – and, of course, we’ll give you some of the highlights of this year’s terrific film lineup ... In fact, that’s where we’ll start.

The NM Italian Film & Culture Festival is an annual showcase for some of the best of contemporary Italian cinema. It’s a slice of life in the Old Country today, as seen through the eyes of the best screenwriters and directors Italy has to offer. The festival’s film selection committee works year-round screening dozens of films to put together an appealing lineup of 7 films that represent a variety of genres, from comedy, to drama, to romance.

Here’s a look at two of the Best of the Best of Festival 2018: One of the standout comedies of Festival 2018 is opening night’s Un paese quasi perfetto (An Almost Perfect Town). Written and directed by Massimo Gaudioso, the film is a “cousin” to the 2010 smash-hit Benvenuti al Sud (Welcome to the South), also written by Gaudioso. Like Benvenuti, Un paese takes place in Basilicata, which is the least-known and most under-developed region of Italy, with warm, genuine people, ruggedly beautiful landscapes, and picturesque seaside towns - one of which (Castelmezzano) provides the setting for the film.

Un paese quasi perfetto is a film about being true to your values and to your roots. It’s a film about saving the identity and simple lifestyle of a poor and declining town. It will charm you, it will make you smile – and as such it’s the perfect opener for the rest of the festival’s engaging film card.

It has become tradition to feature the festival’s showcase film on Friday evening. That’s when the lineup’s most awarded and most highly acclaimed film takes center stage. And this year . . . have we got a deal for you!

Our Friday evening showcase film is none other than the winner of the Best Film award (and several others) at the 2017 David di Donatello (Italian Oscars) ceremonies. La pazza gioia (Like Crazy) is a comedy/drama directed by renowned filmmaker, Paolo Virzi`.

You may recall this director’s Capitale umano (Human Capital), a Donatello Best Film winner from a few years ago. La pazza gioia is a very different yet equally powerful film. It tells the story of two women of diverse backgrounds and personalities who meet in a mental institution and become friends. They escape the institution and embark on a Thelma and Louise-style adventure that will change their lives.

The film blends Virzi`’s signature socio-political commentary with his customary detailed attention to the characters and their development. Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, who plays one of the film’s protagonists came away with the Best Actress award at last year’s Donatellos. And, interestingly enough, some of the mental institution’s patients in the film are played by actual former and current mental patients.

La pazza gioia examines the concepts of happiness and normality in a way that will make you laugh and, at the same time, touch you emotionally. This film is not to be missed!

... So, just two of the films that will make Festival 2018 a great event. As one of our board members is fond of saying, IT WILL BE AWESOME!

That board member would be Michelle Michelotti Martinez who not only heads up the film selection and acquisition committee, but this year will also anchor the fabulous Friday night event – Michela’s Café – with some of the most delectable spuntini (small bites) to ever thrill your taste buds.

SOURCE: Italy in New Mexico

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