Exorcisms, love at first sight and Italy’s answer to Breaking Bad at this year’s Italian Film Festival

Matilda de Angelis is featured in the 2016 movie Veloce come il vento (Italian Race), which screens at this year’s Italian Film Festival.

A couple Fellinis, three Tavianis, a Rossellini and a Bertolucci. It must be time for the Italian Film Festival.

Each year, the festival screens old, restored and new films by Italian filmmakers. This year’s runs Jan. 5-11 and features classics, documentaries and examples of new Italian cinema. Screenings take place at Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour St.). Here are some highlights.

Tulipani, Love, Honour & A Bicycle—This Italian/Canadian/Dutch coproduction opens the festival. In it, Montrealer Anna (Ksenia Solo) encounters love at first sight on a pilgrimage to Puglia. The Opening Gala begins with a reception featuring live music, food and wine. (Doors open 5.45 p.m., film at 7. Tickets are $30—$35 if you want to stay for the 9 p.m. screening of Fellini’s La Strada—and include a glass of vino.)

1900—You’ll want to take the afternoon (of Jan 10) off for this one. Bernardo Bertolucci’s all-star (Robert De Niro, Gerard Depardieu, Burt Lancaster, and Donald Sutherland) 1976 epic is screened at its full five-hour length.

Robert De Niro and Gerard Depardieu in Bertolucci’s 1900. Bring a neck-brace.

Smetto quando voglio (I Can Quit Whenever I Want)—A 2014 comedy that was a smash hit in Italy. Laid off by budget cuts, a university researcher recruits his former colleagues to produce and market illicit chemical substances. Comparisons to TV’s Breaking Bad are inevitable. But, according to the write-up on the Italian Cultural Centre website, the film “is lighter, more reminiscent of classic crime capers like Big Deal on Madonna Street or The Ladykillers.”

Spettacolo—This 2017 documentary looks at the tiny Tuscan village of Monticchiello and its tradition of producing “autodramas,” works crafted by, starring and thematically inspired by its residents.

Rainbow-A Private Affair—A love story set against the backdrop of World War II, Rainbow is based on a novel by Italian writer/partisan fighter Beppe Fenoglio. It’s the most recent (and possibly) last effort by filmmaking brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, whose credits include Padre Padrone and Night of the Shooting Stars (both of which screen as part of this year’s festival) and, more recently, Caesar Must Die and Wondrous Boccaccio.

Libera Nos (Deliver Us)—This 2016 documentary follows Franciscan Father Cataldo Migliazzo. Sicily’s most famous exorcist, Migliazzo works to “cure” those who claim to be demonically possessed.

Veloce come il vento (Italian Race)—Matilda De Angelis plays Giulia De Martino, a 17-year-old aspiring Gran Turismo racer. With the collapse of her family’s auto-racing business, Giulia reaches out to her older brother, a once-great driver now mired in drug addiction. The 2016 movie is based on a true story.

For a complete list of films, as well as screening times and ticket info, visit italianculturalcentre.ca.

The festival is co-presented by Il Centro Italian Cultural Centre, the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Consulate General of Italy in Vancouver and the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Toronto. The films screen at the VanCity theatre (1181 Seymour St.)

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