By Nickie Wang
Comparing the plots and the sensibilities of the characters, Italian films are almost similar to Filipino made movies. That’s why there are times that viewers no longer need the subtitles to understand the developments in the story.
But if we would base the performance of Italian films at the Oscars, or just the influence of Italian cinema to the world, then it is very safe to say that feature films produced in the land with a richer history and cultural heritage are far better than ours.
Ongoing until Oct. 21, moviegoers can visit the Shang Cineplex and indulge in an exciting lineup of critically-acclaimed Italian films that have made their way to the most prestigious film fests around the world. The eighth edition of the annual Italian Film Festival is staged through a joint effort of the Italian Embassy and the Philippine Italian Association and made possible by premier lifestyle destination and patron of culture and the arts, Shangri-La Plaza.
Last Wednesday, The True Legend of Tony Vilar (La Vera Leggenda di Tony Vilar) was shown to formally open the festival. The film is a memorable comedy that revolves around the life of Tony Vilar, a famous singer in Latin America in the ’60s. It traces his journey to stardom, from his childhood in Argentina in the ’50s to his whereabouts today.
Four films are scheduled to be exhibited each day and a total of 13 films are set to introduce Italy in different lights and angles. On the first day of the festival, Before You Know It (Basta Un Niente), GAS, The Viceroys (I Vicere), and Small Town Italy (Provincia Meccanica) were shown.
Before You Know It (Basta Un Niente) is a comedy that chronicles the story of life-long friends Ivo, Rosario and Peppe. Their lives take on a drastic turn when they become witness to the excavation of a local mafia hood’s grave.
The internationally-celebrated drama GAS presents the story of 24-year-old Luca, a man struggling to confront his homosexuality. After a failed relationship with a woman named Ludovica, he becomes involved in the kidnapping of a 50-year-old man; and finally comes to terms with who he really is.
The Viceroys (I Vicere) is a popular award-winning historical drama set in mid-1800s Sicily, during the last years of the Bourbon reign. The story is told through the eyes of little boy Consalvo, last heir to the Uzeda dynasty, who grows up in the midst of a warring family and under the rule of a domineering father.
Meanwhile, Small Town Italy (Provincia Meccanica) is about a young couple named Marco and Silvia Battaglia who seems to have a lot of difficulties to overcome in the place where they are staying. Silvia is constantly frustrated with her judgmental mother who eventually gains custody of their daughter, a situation that ignites the couple’s determination to find their way back to each other.
Two of the most notable films in the festival are One Out of Two (Uno Su Due), and The Destination (La Destinazione). The first film features award-winning actor Ninetto Davoli (Best Italian Actor, Rome International Film Festival, 2006). It tells the story of a man named Lorenzo, who seems to live the ideal life, possessing things most people desire. The second feature, on the other hand, was awarded Best Foreign Film in the Houston International Film Festival. The story revolves around Sardinian trainees Emilio and Costantino. After the course, Costantino is deployed to traditional Colores, and Emilio to Giacomina, where he meets and falls in love with a young woman. However, a suspicious death makes these two friends’ paths cross once more.
Other features exhibited in the festival are: Historical drama The Heretic (Il Maestro Degli Errori); award-winning comedy films The Fever (La Febbre), Mater Natura, and What I’m Doing Here (Ma Che Ci Faccio Qui); classic in the Italian thriller The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (L’Uccello Dalle Piume de Cristallo); and biographical film of 16th century baroque painter Michaelangelo Merisi, Caravaggio.
For film schedules and other inquiries, contact 633-7851 loc.113 or log on to http://www.shangrila-plaza.com