Feel like visiting somewhere new but don’t have the time or money right now? A film festival is the next best thing. If you want to understand a country and its culture it’s hard to go past watching their commercial cinema – their multiplex and blockbuster fare rather than the arthouse.
That’s why the regional film festivals are so important – and the Italian Film Festival is king with attendance numbers every year that are greater than all the other regional festivals put together. Festival director Tony Lambert has been at this for over a dozen years and his formula works – a well-constructed survey of the current Italian cinema featuring broad comedies, romances and historical dramas. These are the films that Italians have been watching.
This year’s festival opens at the Paramount on the 9th of October with a gala screening of Welcome to the North (a sequel to the 2010 smash hit Welcome to the South, itself a remake of the French comedy Welcome to the Sticks). After that we have two and a half weeks of screenings with most films playing four or five times.