FOR ITS second year, the Italian Film Festival — which brings a selection of films from the Venice International Film Festival to be shown in Metro Manila — is showcasing nine films from Nov. 14 to 18 in select cinemas.
The nine films are:
• Love and Bullets (2017), directed by Antonio Manetti and Marco Manetti. This is a musical comedy about a hired killer and his target who then rediscover the love they had when they were younger.
“The genre of the musical has allowed us to go over the top, tackling the profound and important themes like love and death while maintaining a light and spectacular tone. We are not aiming for realism, but plausibility. In order to believe in the story we are telling, we like to take real characters, whom we have met in real life, and set them in the fanciful frame of an exaggerated tale,” the directors said in a press release.
• Ugly Nasty People (2017) by Cosimo Gomez, meanwhile is an action/comedy about four people who hope to pull off a heist that will change their lives forever — no matter that one has no arms, the other has no legs, another is a drug-addict, and the final member of their motley crew is dwarf rapper.
“The underlying theme of [Ugly Nasty People] is equality. The whole film revolves around the ‘rule’ that any human being can be cynical and ruthless regardless of his or her appearance,” Mr. Gomez was quoted as saying in the release.
• Cinderella and the Cat (2017) by Alessandro Rak, Ivan Cappiello, Marino Guarnieri and Dario Sansone, is an animated feature retelling the classic Cinderella — this time set in Naples. In this tale, Cinderella was raised on a ship docked in the harbor of Naples for over 15 years, living under the shadow of her wicked stepmother and stepsisters, while outside, the city grapples with decline and entrusts its entire future on a drug dealer.
“The story is divided into two acts: an age of light and one of ash. Past and present, fairy tale and reality, which, thanks to the wonder of a by now unused technology, find themselves living in the same place,” said the directors were quoted as saying in the release.
• Hannah (2018) by Andrea Pallaoro is said to be an intimate portrait of a woman’s loss of identity after being left alone as a consequence of her husband’s imprisonment.
“Hannah explores the inner torment of a woman in denial, trapped by her own sense of loyalty and devotion, paralyzed by her insecurities and dependencies. Hannah’s struggle touches me deeply, maybe because I sense how unforgiving the world can be towards her, or maybe because I see in her certain parts of myself,” Ms. Pallaoro said.
“More than anything, I wanted the world to see her, to sense her grief and to witness her struggle to define herself anew, alone,” she added in her director’s statement.
• Emma (2017) by Silvio Saldini is about Teo, a man on the run from his past: his family, the women he slept with, and his responsibilities. He then meets the titular character, a blind woman who has not allowed her life to slide into darkness and who works as an osteopath. Teo and Emma embark on an affair without knowing that at the end of it, the two of them will never be the same.
“A few years ago I made a documentary with blind people. I came across people full of life and irony, who despite their handicap hold down jobs, practice sports, travel. Then I realized that I had never seen any of this in cinema… so I decided to make a film of a love affair with a blind person as it happens in real life,” Mr. Saldini said in the statement.
• Red Desert (1964) by Michelangelo Antonioni is about a woman who, after a car accident, lives a life of depressive neurosis and how her husband’s friend tries to help her get out of her solitude by embarking on an affair with her, which only led to deepening her depression.
“I tried to squeeze every last drop of narrative force out of the color so that it would be in keeping with the spirit of every scene, of every sequence,” Mr. Antonioni, considered one of the most significant Italian film directors of the post-war period, was quoted as saying in the director’s statement of the press release.
• 1900 (1976) by Bernardo Bertolucci, is a historical drama about two childhood friends in northern Italy during the early 20th century who drift apart as adults as their values find them directly in conflict.
“For me  is a microcosm… a tiny region of Italy much enlarged and thus is some ways made — horrible word — universal,” Mr. Bertolucci said in the release.
• The Leisure Seeker (2017) by Paolo Virzi is a heartwarming drama about a couple — the wife has cancer while the man has dementia — that tries to escape a destiny of medical care that would have kept them apart forever by traveling in their old RV through an America they no longer recognize.
“[In the film] I tried not to give up the habits of a director born in Italy, using the ingredients that I always cherish: truth, humanity, irony, the mixture of comedy and tragedy, comic misadventures and moment of pure joy. It seems to me that the outcome is a road movie about the freedom to choose every moment of your life, told with the simplicity of a song,” said Mr. Virzi in the release.
• And finally, A Family (2017) by Sebastiano Riso. The film is about a woman, Maria, who wants to create a real family and her partner who doesn’t.
“It was important that Maria was represented without extravagance, with due discretion, so as to communicate her fragility, but also her desire, which was torn and yet very strong to be a mother,” Mr. Riso said in his director’s statement.
Italian Cinema from Venice to Manila runs from Nov. 14 to 18 at the cinemas of Central Square in Taguig, Greenbelt 3 in Makati, and UP Town Center in Quezon City. Admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis. — ZBC