Our Geek Squad was present for the first time at the Cinema Made In Italy Film Festival that celebrated its 10th Anniversary. We were all super excited to watch the films carefully selected and attend the Q&A’s! There are so many interesting stories coming from Italy even though some aren’t actually Italian! This was just before our current situation so we managed to enjoy this festival in its full potential. Here are some of our favorite films and moments from the festival:
I was lucky enough to attend a screening of ‘Sole’ (ITA-POL / 2019 / dir. Carlo Sironi) followed by a Q&A with both the director and the producer. Maybe ‘lucky’ isn’t the right word though: I did pick this movie, out of a very interesting selection, because something about it just resonated with me. ‘Sole’ wasn’t just what I expected from the cold colors and the young actors of the posters, it was much more – more authentic, more painful, and even more silent. It tells the story of Lena (Sandra Drzymalska), a pregnant Polish girl who comes to Italy to sell her baby to an Italian family, and Ermanno (Claudio Segaluscio), the family’s nephew who is paid to take care of her during her pregnancy. Little to no dialogue, an incredible soundtrack, and two main actors who seem to be born to make this story come to life until you almost forget it is all an act that lays the foundations for a small but powerful tale of love and loneliness. To borrow from the director’s own words, there might be a lot of silence in “Sole”, but this silence is so loud.
The moment I sat down to watch “Flesh Out”, directed by Michela Occhipinti, I did not know the journey I was about to experience. The film tells the story of a young girl Verida that has to go through “gavage“, a tradition of Mauritanian women of force-eating to gain the perfect weight to attract a future husband. Occhipinti explores the idea of body image that even though it can differ from culture to culture the same pressure is put on women: that their bodies are never perfect the way they are and they must change it by all means necessary.
We can try to blame tradition, men, women even but in reality, we must just try to end the conditioning that is inflicted on women since they’re children.
This film is incredibly beautiful and you feel like there’s a need for self-acceptance that it’s so hard for women to have.
In the words of the director herself: ” What we are looking for since the day we were born is to be seen for who we are.”
There was a great selection of films on offer at this year’s Cinema Made in Italy, and I particularly enjoyed watching the films Simple Women and Bangla.
Simple Women follows Federica, a young ambitious director with epilepsy, who has the opportunity to make a film about her childhood idol Romanian-American actress Elina Löwensohn (who plays a fictionalized version of herself). But Federica discovers her idol isn’t quite the person she expected and learns the true meaning of the saying: you should never meet your idols.
It’s an innovative first feature from Italian director/ co-writer Chiara Malta, which blurs the line between reality and dreams, and highlights the problem with idolizing celebrities.
After watching Simple Women, I was fortunate enough to discuss the film with Chiara Malta, and she spoke about the film’s unusual structure, filming in Romania for the first time (the film is partly set in Bucharest, as well as Rome), and the film’s tight shooting schedule (the film was shot in just 20 days); which was one of her biggest challenges making this film.
Bangla is a promising debut film from Italian director/ co-writer Phaim Bhuiyan, who also stars as the film’s lead character (with the same name). The film follows Phaim, a young second-generation Italian living with his traditional Bangladeshi family in Rome. He’s trying to figure out his life, while also respecting his family’s cultural and religious traditions. Then he starts dating a woman that is his exact opposite and has to overcome the cultural differences in their relationship.
This enjoyable romantic comedy is loosely based on Bhuiyan’s life, and it deals with complex issues in a comical way. Bhuiyan used his home neighborhood for the film’s setting, and it plays a major part throughout the film.
If you’re a fan of Aziz Ansari’s Netflix show Master of None (which inspired Bhuiyan), then I highly recommend watching Bangla.