The two women directly behind me would not shut up. Their riveting conversation captured detailed descriptions of what they had prepared for their families for dinner the previous night, who they saw at lunch earlier today, and how good-looking each of their sons were. On my right, I could see out of the corner of my eye, two middle-aged gentlemen in mid- argument. They too were conversing about a deeply philosophical matter. Pasta Fagioli. I was centre row at the screening of Paolo Genovese’s A Perfect Family held at the Vancity Theatre. It was a featured selection for the first annual Italian Film Festival and I could not feel more at home.
Italians are stereotyped for a reason; their lives revolve around passion and food. My Nonna, who resides in Europe, hung up on me once, mid-conversation because her risotto was in need of some stirring. She wasn’t doing it because she didn’t want to speak with me. She hung up on me because at that moment a risotto bianco needed her attention. Our culture is steeped in extravagance, family, food and immense passion and nothing really showcases this better then the films that have come out of Italy itself.
The Italian Film Festival selects it’s films based on the premise of showcasing the old and new. Five classical films including the likes of Senso and Ieri, Oggi e Domani were paired with 5 modern films. With being exposed to both the old and the modern Italy, you can really grasp a sense of not only great film making, but, also a window into this amorous culture. For instance, the holiday themed comedy A Perfect Family, in which a lonely, rich, middle-aged man hires a crew of actors to play his family during the Christmas season, really conveys the message of how important family and relationships are to Italian culture. Roberto Rossellini’s The Flowers of St Francis from 1950 was paired with Genovese’s feature that night. It offered audiences a look into Italian neo-realism as it followed the life and deeds of St Francis of Assisi. Religion, also a huge part of at least Italy’s older generation was in the limelight of this movie’s presence.
Mr. Vescara is the organizer of the event and Exectutive Director of the Italian Cultural Centre and, due to this year’s successful launch, urges all audience to attend this annual event.
Photo Credit: www.viff.org