The 2022 ST. ALi Italian Film Festival presented by Palace, Australia’s pre-eminent event celebrating the culture and cinema of Italy, returns this Spring, promising to transport viewers on a favoloso escape to Italy. The festival line-up will screen in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Byron Bay exclusively at Palace Cinemas, Cinema Nova, Palace Nova and Luna Palace cinemas from September 13.
The festival will open with the Australian premiere of Italian box office hit BELLI CIAO from popular comedy duo Pio and Amedeo. It follows two formerly inseparable friends who reunite in their hometown in Puglia after years apart, resulting in an entertaining north vs south culture clash. And losing the festival this year will be the Oscar-winning trilogy of romantic comedies YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW (Ieri, oggi, domani) starring the inimitable Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. From acclaimed director Vittorio De Sica, this classic will be a fitting way to bid arrivederci to the festival. It also forms part of the Spotlight on Naples, the heartbeat of Italian Cinema, the festival sidebar presented by the Italian Cultural Institute Melbourne. Many films from this year’s selection were either filmed in Naples and/or from or featuring Neapolitan stars or directors, including this classic from 1963 which opens in bella Napoli.
From Official Competition in Cannes comes this year’s Festival Centrepiece: Mario Martone’s new drama NOSTALGIA, featuring a superb performance from Pierfranceso Favino, about a man who returns to his hometown of Naples after forty years and rediscovers the city’s codes and rules, facing a past that haunts him. Two exciting announcements are the Special Presentation films coming direct from their world premieres at major international film festivals: LORD OF THE ANTS (Il signore delle formiche) starring Luigi Lo Cascio direct from its In Competition screenings at the prestigious Venice International Film Festival, is a powerful new drama based on the 1968 trial of Aldo Braibanti, a Roman intellectual whose relationship with a younger student caused a nationwide scandal; and THE HUMMINGBIRD (Il colibri), Francesca Archibugi’s star-studded ensemble drama led by Pierfrancesco Favino which follows its main character from childhood to adulthood exploring the relationships that have criss-crossed his life over the years, direct from its Gala screening at the Toronto International Film Festival and screening in the festival from October.
Other highlights of the 2022 Festival include:
BREAKING UP IN ROME (Lasciarsi un giorno a Roma) – An homage to the Italian capital, this heartfelt romantic comedy directed by and starring Edoardo Leo delves into the difficulties a couple faces when they separate after many years living together.
ON OUR WATCH (E noi come stronzi rimanemmo a guardare) – Taking aim at the technology multinationals that have transformed our modern world, this sci-fi comedy follows an up-and-coming manager who accidentally makes his job superfluous and must work as a delivery rider to get by.
THE CODE OF SILENCE (Una Femmina) – Inspired by the true stories of women who stood up to the ‘Ndrangheta, this evocative drama about a young girl learning the truth of her mother’s death is a powerful story of resistance.
THE LEGEND OF THE CHRISTMAS WITCH 2: THE ORIGINS (La Befana vien di notte 2: Le origini) – Set in the 18th century, this prequel to the hugely successful comedy The Legend of the Christmas Witch, tells the origin story of the Befana, featuring an excellent ensemble cast including Monica Bellucci.
THE PERFECT DINNER (La cena perfetta) – Suspense and a pinch of romance are the ingredients of The Perfect Dinner, a delicious comedy about a Neapolitan mafioso who is sent to Rome to launder money through a restaurant, crossing paths with a chef who dreams of winning a Michelin star.
The festival will also be honouring the centenary of the birth of celebrated auteur Pier Paolo Pasolini in a retrospective presenting three of his iconic film adaptations of literary works: THE CANTERBURY TALES (I racconti di Canterbury) on its 50th anniversary, ARABIAN NIGHTS (Il fiore delle mille e una notte) and THE DECAMERON (Il Decameron) presented by Italian Cultural Institute Sydney.
Tickets are on sale now. For more information visit: www.italianfilmfestival.com.au
The 2022 ST. ALi Italian Film Festival presented by Palace screens in the following locations:
Sydney 13 September – 12 October, Palace Central, Palace Norton St, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinema
Canberra 14 September – 12 October, Palace Electric Cinema
Melbourne 15 September – 12 October, Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Cinema Como, Palace
Westgarth, The Kino, Pentridge Cinema, The Astor, Cinema Nova
Brisbane 21 September – 16 October, Palace Barracks, Palace James Street
Adelaide 21 September – 16 October, Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas, Palace Nova Prospect Cinemas
Perth 22 September – 16 October, Palace Raine Square, Luna Leederville, Luna on SX, Windsor Cinema
Byron Bay 23 September – 9 October, Palace Byron Bay
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- Win tickets to the 2023 German Film Festival
- St ALi Italian Film Festival 2021
- Italian Film Festival 2020 – movie feature
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television