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Italian Film Festival 10th anniversary celebration fails to be a celebration

(PHOTO CREDIT: MCT CAMPUS)
Actress Claudia Gerini is in a movie featured at the Italian FIlm Festival’s tenth anniversary celebration. (PHOTO CREDIT: MCT CAMPUS)

The Italian Film Festival celebrated its tenth anniversary over the weekend in Charles B. Wang Center to spread cultural awareness, but this year featured little change from the previous years.

The festival was organized through collaboration between The Center of Italian Studies and the Department of European Languages, Literatures and Culture. Festival Director, Gioacchino Balducci, a Stony Brook professor, conducted the event with a Q&A session about the films shown. Balducci was also in charge of selecting the films to be shown at the event.

“We got very lucky with our selection of movies we were able to show,” Jo Fusco, a member of The Center for Italian Studies program, said. “Balducci was able to call onto some contacts and get these films, which were never shown in America.”

The films shown include “Un Giorno Speciale” (A Special Day), “Tutta Colpa Della Musica” (Blame it All On Music), “Tutti I Santi Giorni” (Every Blessed Day), “Comandante E La Cicogna” (The Commander and The Stork), “Una Famiglia Perfetta” (A Perfect Family), and “Il Rosso e Il Blue” (The Red and The Blue), all of which were released within the past few years in Italy. Each movie was filmed and produced in various locations across Italy, with English subtitles added.

The cast of the films includes a mix of big named actors and actresses and some lesser-known actors. These include directors Francesca Comencini and Paolo Genovese and actors Roberto Infascelli, Frank Crudele, Claudia Gerini and Giuseppe Battiston. Compared to American movies, most of these films were more realistic experiences that focused more on small, dramatic stories.

The selection of films was chosen to highlight the differences between American and Italian culture. Some of the topics talked about include religion, parenting and the Italian work force.

“Un Giorno Speciale” (A Special Day) follows Gina (Giulia Valentini) and Marco (Filippo Scicchitano) as they both meet on their first day of their jobs. Gina, whose dream is to become an actress, is assigned Marco as her escort driver, but an appointment delay puts them together for the entire day and possibly the rest of their lives.

“Tutti I Santi Giorni” (Every Blessed Day) focuses on the importance relationships and parenting in Italian culture. Guido (Frank Crudele) and Antonia (Luca Marinelli) are a young couple with very little in common and opposing work schedules. Although they are both struggling with their relationship they come to the decision to try and have a child together.

The final film shown during the film festival was “Il Rosso e Il Blu” (The Red and The Blue). Directed by Giuseppe Piccioni, the film is a comedy showing the flaws of the Italian educational system and their effects on the lives of youth. While all the other films shown during the festival were serious films highlighting a certain part of Italian culture, “The Red and The Blue” ended the celebration on a lighter note thanks to the silly characters within the film.

Unfortunately, the festival did very little in terms of celebrating the heritage of the film festival. Instead of showing films from the past 10 years, the films previewed were released within the past two years.

“Originally we thought for the anniversary we would show historic Italian films, but we could not get access to those films,” Fusco said.

Every year the Center of Italian Studies hosts the film festival in an effort to spread cultural awareness, but for the tenth anniversary, very little has been done to celebrate the festivals history.

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