What would and Italian film festival be without food and wine? Food and beverage lovers are in for treats at the 2018 New Italian Cinema. The opening night film, AS NEEDED, is a comic drama and culinary road trip to Florence, Italy about a veteran chef and a talented young chef with autism whose meeting take some unexpected turns. THE LAST PROSECCO is a witty thriller that unravels on the hills of Valdobbiadene, where Prosecco grapes grow. And THE LAST ITALIAN COWBOYS, a beautifully lensed documentary love song to the Maremma region and a unique perspective on how the cowboys on an organic, free-range ranch carry out Italy’s slow food traditions.
The Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco (Istituto Italiano di Cultura), with the support of the Italian Consulate General in San Francisco, and New Italian Cinema Events (N.I.C.E.) of Florence, Italy present 2018 New Italian Cinema, Friday, November 30 through Sunday, December 2 at the Vogue Theatre, 3290 Sacramento Street in San Francisco. Celebrating its 22nd year in San Francisco, this annual presentation of dynamic cinema will bring Italy’s newest directors and the country’s veteran filmmakers to Bay Area audiences, who will have an opportunity to experience the richness of Italy’s cinematic treasures.
Six dramatic features by up-and-coming directors—a number of whom will be in attendance—are featured in the City of Florence Award competition. The City of Florence Award, which honors a first or second feature by an Italian director, will be decided by audience ballot at the festival. In addition to the six features in competition, New Italian Cinema will showcase dramatic films by veteran Italian directors, along with award-winning documentaries.
EatDrinkFilms is proud to co-present AS NEEDED (QUANTO BASTA). Director Francesco Falaschi will appear in person to present his delightful comedy culminating in a contest for young cooks. Arturo (Vinicio Marchioni) is a veteran chef with minor anger management problems who, after a short stint in prison, performs community service at a school for teens with Asperger’s where . His students are eager to learn, especially Guido (Luigi Fedele), a young man who remembers every ingredient in every recipe. At first, the jaded Arturo views Guido as an obligation, but the boy’s earnest enthusiasm rubs off on his mentor. Arturo delays his move to Milan to cook in a sleek restaurant when Anna (Valeria Solinari), the Institute’s psychologist, convinces him to accompany Guido to a competition in Tuscany’s capital. He hates these cooking shows but reluctantly accepts. Complicating matters is the fact that the president of the jury is Daniel Marinari (Nicola Siri), Arturo’s celebrity chef ex-business partner and the man Arturo considers responsible for his previous troubles. As Arturo confronts his past and Guido faces the pressure of competition, their initially contentious relationship evolves into a friendship that make both question their values.
THE LAST PROSECCO (FINCHÉ C’È PROSECCO C’È SPERANZA) is a witty thriller that unravels on the rolling hills of Valdobbiadene (in the Veneto region of northern Italy), where Prosecco grapes grow. Adapted from Fulvio Ervas’s eponymous novel, it features a winemaking count (Rade Serbedzija), who is fighting to protect his terroir, and a Persian-Italian police inspector (Giuseppe Battiston), who is stubborn and perspicacious.
THE LAST PROSECCO has all of the elements of a good whodunit: politics, greed, multiple murders, and a cast of potential culprits, including the count’s mistress (Silvia D’Amico), his estranged South American daughter (Liz Solari), and his longtime housekeeper (Giselle Burinato). Throw into the mix the manager of a polluting cement plant, a sharpshooting Venetian prostitute, a crazed gravedigger plus a secretive Prosecco brotherhood and you’ve got a detective story with fizz. Director Antonio Padovan explores the lure of the vineyards, the effervescence of bubbles, and the conflict between those who are driven to exploit the environment and those who are called to protect it at all costs. We are pleased to also be co-presenting it.
THE LAST ITALIAN COWBOYS (GLI ULTIMI BUTTERI) is Walter Bencini’s beautifully shot documentary, a love song to the Maremma region of Italy. It profiles the butteri, or cowboys, who work on one of the last ranches that breeds cattle and horses in the wild. Shot over the changing seasons in an area that stretches between southern Tuscany and northern Lazio, the film chronicles the lives of these amiable weather-beaten wranglers, their synchronicity with the rhythms of the land, and their relationship with the animals they steward. From the veteran cowpoke who doesn’t want to be known as one of the last of a breed, to the young men who are learning the trade and wondering if there is enough money in riding the range to support a family, The Last Cowboys celebrates the camaraderie of this rugged band. For anyone who loves the Tuscan countryside or simply seeks escape from everyday office routine, this film’s exquisite lensing provides a close-up of sweeping vistas of the Tyrrhenian Sea, bucolic shots of cows (and the cowboys reciting their names), and a unique perspective on how an organic, free-range ranch carries out Italy’s slow food traditions.
Nancy Fishman, Festival Producer says, “I am really, really excited about the Opening Night film, AS NEEDED, which is a perfect food fan’s movie, and also about the two exceptional documentaries that we are showing on Closing Night: Enrico Maisto’s THE CALL (LA CONVOCAZIONE) , about a day in the life of jurors selected for Court of Assize in Milan–one of Italy’s highest courts,–and Silvia Bellotti’s OPEN TO THE PUBLIC (APERTI AL PUBBLICO), an outstanding cinéma vérité documentary about the public housing office in Naples; a film that oscillates between capturing Kafkaesque absurdity and quirky episodes of Neapolitan comedy. Opening Night Director Francesco Falaschi will be there in person and Closing Night Director Silvia Bellotti will also be there in person. Both of the Closing Night documentaries won awards at Festival dei Popoli, Italy’s most prestigious documentary film festival.”
“We invite the Bay Area to spend three days with us in Italy, without getting on a plane,” suggests Lorenzo Ortona, Consul General of Italy in San Francisco and Acting Director of the Italian Cultural Institute. “The Festival has dramas, comedies, thrillers and some true discoveries that offer an excellent overview of current Italian cinema while exploring culture and places to possibly visit in many beautiful parts of the country.”
All films will have English subtitles.
The complete Festival schedule and to purchase tickets can be found on the official website. There are descriptions and trailers for each film there also.