Paradise cinema by Alessia Belsito-Riera
Ragazzi e ragazze, signori e signore, benvenuti a Cinema Italiano Festival. As the curtain is drawn, you are ushered into a world of beauty, love, food, heartbreak, legend, passion, and a little something called la dolce vita.
Now in its eighth year, Aotearoa’s Italian Film Festival will tarantella into Wellington on the 24th of October, screening 22 films across the Embassy Theatre and Miramar’s Roxy Cinema until the 12th of November, taking you by the hand and twirling you through the enchanting legacy of Italian cinema.
Award-winning Italo-Kiwi film director, writer, and actor Paolo Rotondo is the festival’s artistic director and curator of the programme, which he describes as the best in contemporary Italian cinema combined with masterpieces from Italy’s rich cinematic tradition.
Rotondo believes it is important “to reflect a diverse contemporary Italy” and acknowledges his sense of responsibility to represent the country in an authentic way, choosing films that express the current Italian zeitgeist.
Love is a central theme throughout the selection of thrillers, comedies, dramas, and Italian filmmaking in general, Rotondo says, “but not romantic love in the traditional style. The films offer genuinely new, unexpected, and original takes on the subject, with some lovely perspectives on both romantic and familial love”. Superheroes is a particular favourite of Rotondo’s from this year’s line-up.
The festival’s ongoing partnership with the Embassy of Italy continues in 2023, with Italian Ambassador Francesco Calogero saying that “intercultural exchanges are essential to understanding both countries as well as one’s own, and cinema is such a beautiful entry point into culture.”
Welcome to cinema paradiso; see things you’ve never seen before.