San Diego Italian Film Festival Opens With Mafia Musical
A dozen days of films with an Italian perspective
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Antonio Iannotta, San Diego Italian Film Festival artistic director
Beth Accomando, KPBS film critic
Antonio Iannotta, SDIFF artistic director, is quick to point out that the more accurate description for this crime film would be a Camorra musical since the film is set in Naples and the crime syndicate in that part of southern Italy goes by that name. "Ammore e malavita" won the Donatello Award (the Italian equivalent of the Oscar) for Best Film earlier this year and is the festival choice for opening night film.
Although Italy is the birthplace of opera, musicals are not really a part of its cinema. Iannotta said that Italian cinema doesn't have a tradition of musicals to draw on but that the filmmakers, Antonio and Marco Manetti, come from outside the film industry and with a background making music videos.
As part of the festival's dedication to providing a context for films and a discussion about them, it has produced a series of what it calls Points of View videos in which individual films are analyzed by festival associates. The analysis of "Ammore e malavita" is provided by Cinema Junkie guest blogger Rebecca Romani.
These discussions also extend to the festival itself as filmmaker Andrea Segre will be on hand after the screening of his film "L’ordine delle cose" ("The Order of Things") on Oct. 6. The film deals with the issue of immigration but from the point of view of Corrado, a policeman for the European task force in charge of immigration control rather than from the perspective of an immigrant. Iannotta provides his point of view of the film in this festival video.
Midday guest and Moviewallas podcaster Yazdi Pithavala serves up his analysis of "A ciambra." The film looks to Pio Amato, who at 14 years old wants to grow up fast.
Most of the films at the feStivale will screen at MOPA, but the film "Caravaggio: The Soul and the Blood" required something bigger so it will play at the San Diego Natural History Museum's impressively grand film venue. Iannotta described the film as "something in between a documentary and a fiction movie" as it chronicles the life and art of painter Caravaggio.
As part of Film Geeks SD, I will be co-presenting the single retro screening of the festival, the 50th-anniversary tribute to Sergio Leone's "Once Upon A Time in the West." After the film, Iannotta, Miguel Rodriguez (also of Film Geeks SD), and I will hold a discussion about the film and spaghetti westerns. This is an epic film that deserves to be seen and savored on the big screen. It showcases Leone and composer Ennio Morricone at the height of their craft, and dazzles us with epic landscapes as well as lingering close-ups exploring the terrain of the human face. These spaghetti westerns reflected a modern and more jaded sensibility than found in earlier American examples of the genre.
The feStivale also features a gala event on Oct. 7 featuring food, music, and film from the region of Calabria. Actor and musician Peppe Voltarelli will provide the music and then you can watch him in the film "La vera leggenda di Tony Vilar."
The feStivale closes on Oct. 14 with the adult animation "Gatta Cenerentola" ("Cinderella the Cat"), which uses the classic fairy tale for the starting point of what Iannotta called "a science fiction noir thriller."
San Diego Italian Film Festival's 12th feStivale runs from Oct. 3 through 14.
You can also enjoy the other SDIFF Points of View videos in preparation for seeing the films.
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