June is Italian Heritage Month and that means in true Italian form, you can expect a colourful celebration of this heritage from food to art to film and everything in between. Outside of Italian Day coming on Sunday, June 14th, The Italian Cultural Centre will also be hosting a great line of activities which include the Italian Market, but will feature a few extra events to celebrate their heritage. The Rio Theatre has also jumped on board to celebrate the Italian spirit and partnered with Italian Day, the Italian Cultural Centre and the Vancouver Italian Film Festival. In case you hadn’t heard, the theme for this year’s Italian Day is “Art”, so we think it very fitting that the Rio Theatre will be showcasing some favourite Italian films. And for those that wish to see them all, they are even offering a $50 festival pass. The films they have lined up for the Italian Film Festival include:
Saturday, June 6: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly “Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo” (Sergio Leone, 1966) | Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, and Lee Van Cleef star in Sergio Leone’s masterpiece, a “spaghetti Western” that is generally considered to be the most influential (if not thoroughly entertaining!) in the genre.
Saturday, June 6: Black Sabbath “I tre volti della paura” (Mario Bava, 1963) | Mario Bava’s stylistic influence on cinema can not be understated, and Black Sabbath is a prime example of how his innovative visual and structural aesthetic permeated the horror genre. Black Sabbath is one of the most influential anthology films of the 20th Century, composed of a “trio of terror” whose narrative is held together by its powerful and very colourful narrator, Boris Karloff. Quentin Tarantino cited the structural style of the film as one of his influences on Pulp Fiction and the title of the film was, quite famously, lifted by English metal band Black Sabbath.
Tuesday, June 9: Bicycle Thieves “Ladri di biciclette” (Vittorio De Sica, 1948) | In spite of Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves being, at its core, a simple story of a father and his young son searching for a stolen bicycle [vital to the father’s] job, the film is frequently cited as one of the best films ever made. De Sica opted to cast his film with amateurs, their honest performances as fresh and natural today as they were upon release in 1948.
Tuesday, June 9: Cinema Paradiso “Nuovo Cinema Paradiso” (Giuseppe Tornatore, 1988) | With its sweeping cinematography, gorgeous performances, and a heart-tugging nostalgic storyline about childhood and coming-of-age, the Oscar-winning Cinema Paradiso (Best Foreign Film, 1990) remains one of Italy’s most popular and best-loved cinematic exports. Loosely based on writer/director Giuseppe Tornatore’s own life, the story follows a prominent filmmaker recalling the days of his magical boyhood, when he fell in love with movies and formed a deep friendship with the projectionist at his village’s theatre.
Friday, June 12L La Dolce Vita (Federico Fellini, 1960) | Marcello Marstroianni and Anita Ekberg star one of the best from one of the best, Federico Fellini. La Dolce Vita is a dazzling film that weaves elements of the surreal and magical to humbly expose honest elements of the human condition via a week in the life of a philandering paparazzo journalist (Mastroianni, in one of his most memorable performances), living in Rome.
Friday, June 12: The Night Porter “Il portiere di notte” (Lilliana Cavani, 1974) | After a chance meeting at a hotel in 1957, a Holocaust survivor (the exquisite Charlotte Rampling) and the Nazi officer (Dirk Bogarde) who tortured her resume their sadomasochistic relationship, which threatens them both. Liliana Cavani’s The Night Porter continues to divide audiences over its controversial themes and moral ambiguity; the far-reaching impact of its fetishistic aesthetic as influential today as it was upon its release in 1974.
Saturday, June 13: 8 1/2 (Federico Fellini, 1963). Frequently listed as, “one of the best films ever made,” Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2 stars Marcello Mastroianni as Guido, harried film director who, following his last big hit, relaxes by retreating into the surreal dream world of memory and fantasy. Fellini’s quasi-autobiographical film about love, loss, and the trials and tribulations of film-making is often cited by the master himself as one of his favorite films, ever. Also starring Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée, Sandra Milo, Barbara Steele.
Saturday, June 13: Last Tango in Paris “Ultimo tango a Parigi” (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1974 / 128 mins, 18A) | Passionate, sexual, and entirely unforgettable, Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris is an exotic, erotic masterpiece about an engaged Parisian woman (Maria Schneider) and her clandestine affair with a recently widowed, middle-aged American businessman (Marlon Brando). Upon its release in 1974, the film received worldwide attention for its unflinching sex scenes (it originally received an “X” rating and was banned in many countries) as well as its raw, naturalistic portrayal of a very adult relationship.