Thu Nov 13,2008

Five Masterpieces of Contemporary Italian Cinema to Dazzle Guests with Humour, Violence and Passion

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) will focus on a country that has a long cinematic history, and where new talents continually push the boundaries of narrative and style: Italy.

The Focus on Italy segment will offer a look into the social and artistic fabric of one of Europe’s oldest societies, said Sheila Whitaker, DIFF’s Director of International Programmes: “Italy has been a cinema-lover’s paradise since the earliest days of cinema. At DIFF this year we want to celebrate the vibrant energy of Italian film and offer festival goers a chance to see these art house films by new talents from Europe that are surely ones not to be missed.”

Power, money and blood: these are the values that the residents of the province of Naples and Caserta confront every day in Gomorra. They have practically no choice,  and are forced to obey the rules of the \“System,\” the Camorra. Only a lucky few can even think of leading a normal life. Five stories are woven together in this cruel world, where Don Ciro pays the families of the prisoners that are affiliated with his clan, which has the undisputed command of the territory. Director Matteo Garrone has shown his work in competition at Cannes’early this year. .

Gomorrah’s screenplay was co-written by Gianni Di Gregorio, whose Pranzo di Ferragosto also appears in the Focus on Italy selection. Middle-aged Gianni still lives with his mother, and during a long weekend his landlord asks him to take care of his mother in return for lower rent. Gianni  turns up with two elderly ladies and then his doctor also leaves his mother in his care,. Somehow he gets through but when it’s time to say goodbye, the women have other ideas.

Il Resto Della Notte is the second feature of Francesco Munzi. An affluent, middle-class Italian family are plunged into conflict when a piece of jewellery disappears.  The mother instantly blames the Romanian maid, Maria. Despite the protests of her husband and daughter, who believe Maria is innocent, the maid is fired.  Maria re-enters the world from which she escaped - the struggling underclass of Eastern European migrants, fighting to survive in the bounty of the West,  unaware that their paths are shortly to cross violently and tragically with Maria’s yet again.

Acclaimed Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s Il Divo depicts thelife of one of Europe’s most notorious politicians, Giulio Andreotti,  who returned to power seven times between the late 1940s and early 1990s, at the head of the Christian Democrat party. Blending documentary-style interludes with fast-cutting drama, Sorrentino works his material up into a visual torrent of energy that catapults us through Andreotti’s exploits at breakneck speed before the whole sprawling edifice collapses in a welter of corruption allegations, shady power deals and intrigue.

Marco Pontecorvo’s debut feature Pa Ra Da chronicles the efforts of Miloud, a young circus clown living in Paris who resolves to help the street children of Bucharest. He begins by entertaining them, coaxing out smiles, laughter and trust.  Eventually Miloud was able to teach the children clowning techniques, and the group performed in the main square of Bucharest. By 1996, Miloud had established ‘Fundatia Parada’, an organization dedicated to providing shelter for children, as well as being an official circus company that performs for underprivileged children throughout Europe.

Pa Ra Da has been selected as the Gala film representing the Country Focus program dedicated this year to the cinema of Italy.

The Dubai International Film Festival will run from December 11 to 18, 2008.

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