Palace Cinemas and the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Sydney (IIC) are excited to present a selection of contemporary Italian movies that will take you on a journey through Italy during a time of economic crisis, offering a full spectrum of the everyday that shows, no matter how dire the situation, life goes on in all its glory.
Hosted at Palace Cinemas Norton Street on one Tuesday of each month, each guest will receive a take-in antipasti plate and prosecco on arrival, with a film introduction to precede the screening, followed by a Q&A with a special guest and moderated by Antonella Beconi, convenor for Italian at the Center of Continuing Education, University of Sydney, on behalf of IIC.
General Admission $24
Palace Movie Club, IIC Members, Students* $19
Palace Cinemas Norton Street
99 Norton Street, Leichhardt 2040.
A take-in antipasti plate and prosecco will be handed to guests before the film (included in the ticket price). 6.30pm introduction and film, followed by Q&A.
This series was made possible thanks to the collaboration of Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Sydney, Sydney University and Palace Cinemas.
*Student discount includes the following organisations – University of Sydney, UTS, UNSW, Macquarie University, Center of Continuing Education.
Dates, Locations & Tickets
A Flat for Three
I Can Quit Whenever I Want
The Medicine Seller
The Legendary Giulia
The Last Will Be The Last
The Space Between
A Flat for Three [Posti in Piedi in Paradiso, 2012, 119’]
*Q&A with Cristiana Palmieri, reporter FRED Film Radio.
One of Italy’s most popular contemporary filmmakers, Carlo Verdone returns to the screen with a kind of Odd Couple for the new millennium. Only now it’s three divorced men who decide to share an apartment together in Rome. All three are drifting towards uncertain futures while still stuck in unresolved pasts. One (Verdone) is a record collector lost in a world of classic rock; another (Pier Francesco Favino) is a former film critic reduced to writing gossip columns. The last (Marco Giallini) tries to sell real
estate as an excuse to meet women. Clearly a response to the economic and spiritual crisis gripping Italy, A Flat for Three is one of Verdone’s most sharply observed comedies. These housemates may not know how to solve their own problems, but each is full of ideas about how to help the other two.
The Entrepreneur [L’industriale, 2011, 94’]
*Q&A with Francesco Borghesi, University of Sydney.
Giuliano Montaldo’s multi-award winning taut drama tells the story of factory owner Nicola Ranieri who is struggling both professionally and emotionally. The banks are foreclosing and pride has taken him to the brink of ruin as he refuses to use his wife’s wealth and family name as a guarantor against further loans. He is just days away from bankruptcy unless the German company Zenith confirms the fifteen million euro share option deal. But Nicola also suspects his beautiful architect wife is having an affair. Following her, he discovers a regular rendezvous with Gabriel, a Romanian musician and car park attendant. Attempting to secretly help her husband financially, Laura finds herself instead at the centre of Nicola’s intense jealousy.
Set in Turin, the movie shows a city paralysed by the financial crisis. Deserted factories, almost empty streets and the distant sound of protest provide the backdrop for this incisive yet deeply personal film that shows just how quickly and easily the economic crisis can destroy individual lives.
Balancing Act [Gli Equilibristi, 2013, 107’]
*Q&A with Gino Moliterno – Emeritus SLLL, The Australian National University.
When husband and father of two Giulio (Valerio Mastandrea) upsets his comfortable life by having an affair, his wife Elena (Barbara Bobulova, The Ages of Love) cannot forgive him. Taking full responsibility,
Giulio decides to move out, promising that he will continue to support the family financially despite his
meagre monthly salary. He is faced with the problem of where to move; his friends have their own problems without having to support him, apartments are too expensive and he resists staying with his mistress. Finding a one-room, shared-bathroom flat, Giulio plunges deeper and deeper into poverty as he
struggles to pay for his separation, borrowing more and more money before hitting rock bottom. Told with irony and humour amid the tragedy, this is a moving film about the thin line between having it all and having nothing. The beautifully written screenplay is realistic, relevant and also very touching, with the stoic and sympathetic character of Giulio at its heart.
I Can Quit Whenever I Want [Smetto Quando Voglio, 2014, 100’]
*Q&A with Alice Loda, lecturer, School of International Studies, University of Technology Sydney.
From talented newcomer Sydney Sibilia, comes the most popular comedy of 2014 about a group of
unemployed neo-graduates who turn to producing and trafficking synthetic drugs. In the style of Breaking Bad and Ocean’s Eleven, this film has become a cult hit in Italy since its release.
Pietro (Edoardo Leo, Viva Italy, To Rome with Love) is a researcher and a genius who has just been
laid off. In order to survive, he recruits the best of his colleagues: economists, chemists and anthropologists in order to result in the A-team of drug dealing. Success is immediate, but at what cost?
With a backdrop of the economic and job crisis, we see the world in the most disillusioned and lighthearted way imaginable – it’s sincere and honest with a good dose of nastiness, resulting in a very funny
The Medicine Seller [Il Venditore di Medicine, 2014, 105’]
* Q&A with Jason DiRosso, film critic, ABC, and Mats Karlsson, senior lecturer of Japanese Studies, University of Sydney.
Claudio Santamaria (Romanzo Criminale) stars in Antonio Morabito’s gripping new drama about a drug salesman for an ultra-competitive pharmaceutical giant, who influences doctors and pharmacists to push their brands by offering expensive gifts in a world where profit reigns above human decency. 40-year-old sales rep, Bruno (Santamaria), suffers unbearable pressure at the hands of his tyrannical boss (Isabella Ferrari, The Great Beauty), which is proven when his broken and stressed coworker commits suicide. However, Bruno presses on, continuing to shamelessly bribe clients into sales. As things grow increasingly
cutthroat, Bruno experiences another tension at home when his wife, Anna (Evita Ciri), stops taking her birth control pills against his wishes. Santamaria delivers a multi-dimensional performance, mastering the character’s edginess as pressures crank up anxiety levels to boiling point.
The Legendary Giulia [Noi e la Giulia, 2015, 115’]
* Q&A with Giorgia Alu, chair of the Italian Department of the University of Sydney.
Diego (Luca Argentero, A Boss in the Kitchen), Fausto (Edoardo Leo, I Can Quit Whenever I Want) and Claudio (Stefano Fresi) are three down-on-their-luck men. When they meet by chance looking at a property in the country none of them are able to afford, the three men decide to combine forces and risk everything to start a Bed and Breakfast. They invest everything they have, physically and mentally, into the project, but the financial pressures mount and are made even more stressful with the local mafia demanding regular payments and threatening to suffocate their venture! It seems that only a miracle will
bring them back on track. Indeed, the miracle they need arrives in the most unlikely of forms. But is it enough? Based on the book Alfa Romeo 1300 and Other Miracles by Fabio Bartolomei, this story delivers
overwhelming optimism which will make you believe anything is possible and the fantastic cast resonate this positive message throughout.
The Last Will Be The Last [Gli Ultimi Saranno Ultimi, 2016, 103’]
*Q&A with Marina Freri, senior producer at ABC for RN breakfast & Vrasidas Karalis, Professor of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, University of Sydney.
Paola Cortellesi (Wondrous Boccaccio, Do You See Me?) stars in Massimiliano Bruno’s dark comedy
depicting Luciana, a factory worker married to the love of her life (Alessandro Gassman). Luciana is leaving the simple and quiet life she’s always desired: she works and she is deeply in love with her husband Stefano, even if he doesn’t always have a job and they both need to struggle to keep on going. They are happy and always on each other’s side, but shortly after she finds out she’s pregnant, she gets fired and her world starts falling apart. After having tried to have a baby for years, the joy of impending motherhood lasts only a few months. Begging for help but with no one ready to listen to her, completely desperate and shattered, Luciana decides to kidnap the managing director of her former company, asking for the justice she deserves.
The Space Between [2016, 100’]
*Q&A with Marco Lucchi, senior producer at SBS radio.
Marco (Flavio Parenti) is a 35 year-old ex-chef who has given up his career and any sense of hope to return to Udine in Northern Italy to nurse his ailing father. Even when offered a job at a restaurant in Melbourne, he declines using his father as the excuse. When tragedy strikes, the only glimmer of joy arrives in the form of Olivia (Maeve Dermody), a spirited Australian chasing her dream of working in design while on a family mission in Udine. Against the stunning vineyards, rugged mountains and blue Adriatic of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, these two very different people find themselves at a crossroads that will change their
lives forever. The Space Between is a celebration of the Italian spirit of la dolce vita – a stylistically and emotionally beautiful film that shows even in times of personal and economic turmoil, hope for the future lives on.