Monday, March 3, 2008

Cinecita: Milwaukee Italian Film Festival

By David Luhrssen
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Even before the advent of the Milwaukee International Film Festival, the Cream City was home to a variety of smaller, specific-focus events such as the Latin American Film Festival and the French Film Festival. Last year saw the addition of a new contender, the Italian Film Festival of Milwaukee. It returns this year with five films running March 8-9 at the UWM Union Theatre.

“It was a nice mix of people,” says one of the festival’s organizers, Bobby Tanzilio, speaking of last year’s audience. It included Italians abroad in Milwaukee as well as Italian Americans “and a lot of people that I had never seen anywhere before.” A century ago Italy was one of the earliest nations to contribute to the advance of cinema. The country continued to produce excellent films through both world wars, the rule of Mussolini, the enormous social changes of the ‘60s and into the present day. Michelangelo Antonioni and Federico Fellini were only two of the dominant figures to emerge from Italian cinema after World War II. In recent years Italy has retained its presence on the worldwide film festival circuit.

Barbara Klein, who has programmed Italian movie programs in Kansas City, St. Louis and elsewhere, has been instrumental in selecting films for Milwaukee’s Italian Film Festival. Traveling to Italy to meet distributors, she returned with a roster of possibilities for local organizers to choose from. “They are all contemporary movies,” Tanzilo explains. “The choices run the gamut from comedy to drama. We’re bringing what we think are good movies that most likely won’t be shown in town.”

Saturday, March 8

5 p.m.: One Out of Two (Uno Su Due)

7 p.m.: The Second Wedding Night (La Seconda Notte di Nozze)

9 p.m.: The Viceroys (I Vicere)

Sunday, March 9

5 p.m.: When Do the Girls Show Up? (Ma Quandro Arrivano le Regazze?)

7 p.m.: Only Child (Figlio Unico)

For more information: www.italianfilmfests.org

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