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ITALIAN CINEMA FOCUS (article first published : 2003-10-18)

The Italian Cinema Focus features as a special component of this year’s 24th Durban International Film Festival which runs until October 26 at venues in and around Durban.

Three Italian films, an Italy/South Africa collaboration and a photographic exhibition celebrate Italy’s remarkable contribution to the world’s film industry.

A World of Love (Un Mondo D’Amore) directed by Aurelio Grimaldi is based on the early life of one of cinema’s greatest directors. This masterful film begins in 1949 when Pasolini is still a young man. Charged with committing sexual acts with male minors, he decamps to the legendary Cinecitta film studio in Rome and so begins a filmmaker’s journey into a strange new world. Director Grimaldi who published several novels before turning to screenwriting, began to direct with La discesa di Aclà aFloristella (Venice, 1992), La ribelle (Locarno,1993), and Le buttane (Cannes and Locarno,1994). He has also made documentaries, notably I Parrini, about Palermo's "anti-mafia priests." There are screenings of A World of Love on October 24 at Cinema Nouveau at 12h15 and on October 25 at 19h30 at CSE The Workshop. Grimaldi will introduce the film at the screening on October 25.

3 Women is directed by Italian master Luciano Emmer. This film weaves the stories of three women (all played by Sabrina Ferilli) in three countries into this introspective film. In Italy Stefania makes a break with her past, in France Elena changes her life after a suicide attempt and in Luxembourg Stella refuses to give up on her dying partner.

The Cruelest Day (Ilaria Alpi – Il Piu Crudele Dei Giorni), is directed by Ferdinando Vincentini Orgnani. Orgnani studied music in the US and architecture in Venice before going onto study acting and screenwriting. He directed his first film, a documentary, in 1989, and then won a scholarship to study at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia. Amongst films he has directed are Hannover (2003), The Cruelest Day (2002), Mare Largo (1998), Apocrifi Sul Caso Crowley (1992). The Cruelest Day traces the steps of TV news reporter Ilaria Alpi and her cameraman Miran Hrovatin who were killed in an ambush in Mogadishu in 1994. This true story follows a maze of plot twists that is as gripping as the best spy story. The film screens on October 23 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at 20h30 and at Cinema Nouveau on October 26 at 16h00. The director Orgnani, will introduce the film at both screenings.

Another feature in the Italian Cinema focus is the South African short film – The Sky in Her Eyes, directed by Ouida Smit and Madoda Ncayiyana with Italian cinematographer Alberto Iannuzi. This South African/Italian collaboration won the Djibril Diop MambetyPrize for best African short film at Cannes 2003 and had a special mention at the Cinema Africano Festival in Milan, amongst many other accolades at festivals around the world. The film tells the story of a young girl orphaned by AIDS who finds consolation when a young boy reaches out to her through an act of friendship.

The Sky in her Eyes will be screened and introduced by Madoda Ncayiyana on October 23 at 20h30 just prior to the screening of The Cruelest Day at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.

An extension of the film festival is a photographic exhibition - 60 Years of Italian Cinema. The Italian Film Directors Association has made tribute to its associates through this exhibition of historical film stills illustrating famous actors who have made Italian movies both in Italy and abroad unforgettable. The cultural years after World War II where neo-realist metropolitan sets, traditional costumes and the lively atmosphere of Italy in its economic boom era (late 50s, early 60s) are highlighted in this exhibition. The exhibition was compiled by one of the greatest film still photographers, Enrico Appetito, (recently, sadly deceased) and his agency. 60 Years of Italian Cinema can be viewed at the Malherbe Library, University of Natal from October 20 until November 5 with a special viewing at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on October 23 to co-incide with the screening of the Italian film The Cruelest Day.

“The Italian Cinema Focus celebrates the enormous film talent which Italy enjoys,” says Alessandro Prunas, Consul of Italy, “We are proud to be associated with the festival, in that it has as its focus, good quality films, which are thought-provoking, well-crafted works of arts. Currently a co-production agreement between Italy and South Africa between the ministries of culture is being negotiated. I hope that when this agreement is finalized the collaboration will benefit the growth of our film industries.”

The full selection of films and activities at the Durban International Film Festival is available on www.und.ac.za/und/carts/ . Festival Enquiries can be addressed to tel. 031-2602506 / 2601367; or email diff@nu.ac.za




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