UPDATED: 9/17 4PM | Numerous showtimes have been updated to reflect changes that occurred after publication.
For the first time in six years, the opening-night reception of Cinema Italiano’s film festival will be open to the public.
Last year’s screenings at the Consolidated Theatres Kahala venue brought the best attendance in the event’s seven-year history. Perhaps inspired by that turnout, the organizers are inviting all to join in this year, starting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday on the Kahala Mall rooftop. Fest patrons can mix with jurors and VIP guests for catered food and drink, as well as a performance by Hawaii Opera Theatre.
The $40, 21-and-over "sotto le stelle on the roof" includes a viewing of the comedy "Basilicata Coast to Coast." The festival will run through Sept. 26, featuring nine films, three of which are David di Donatello (aka Italian Oscar) winners, including this year’s best picture, "The Man Who Will Come." (Checks for the event, made out to Pacific Arts Foundation/Cinema Italiano in Hawaii, can be mailed to the festival office, 1330 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 3202, Honolulu, HI 96814. Anything more than $40 will be tax-deductible as allowable by law.)
2010 CINEMA ITALIANO IN HAWAII
Where: Consolidated Theatres Kahala 8, Kahala Mall
When: Thursday to Sept. 26
Cost: $10.25 general ($7.50 matinees before 4 p.m.) and $7.50 seniors, military and students; available at the door or in advance at www.fandango.com
Info: 673-5892 or www.cinemaitalianoinhawaii.org
Note: Opening-night reception, 5:30 p.m. Thursday on the Kahala Mall rooftop; $40.
Two of the films, the documentary "Terra Madre" and the feature drama "The Wind That Blows Around," will be co-sponsored by Slow Food Hawaii and Whole Foods.
"The films explore a wide variety of topics," said festival founder and director Margherita Balbo Parrent. "These exceptional films look at social issues, tragedy and heroism, comedy and adventure with themes ranging from the plight of musicians, struggles of aspiring artists, a comedy about the mysteries of rituals of Italian manhood, a dying village abandoned in favor of modern conveniences, a missionary who returns home to his loving family only to discover all has changed and, of course, romance."
The festival’s celebrity jury panel is made up of Bonnie Lee, Hawaii filmmaker and former president of Geffen Pictures and former vice president of Warner Brothers; Jim Burke, producer of "The Descendants"; Neal Israel, veteran Hollywood writer and director; Edgy Lee, local filmmaker and producer; Bonni Lee, Honolulu film and television producer; and Bobbi Thompson, who has been in the artist representation and film sales business since 1982.
The 2010 Cinema Italiano in Hawaii festival is presented by the Friends of Italy Society of Hawaii, Kahala Mall, Consolidated Kahala Theatre, Kahala Resort Ferrari/Maserati of Hawaii and the Movie Museum.
This year’s lineup includes:
» "The Friends at the Margherita Café (Gli Amici Del Bar Margherita)" (11:30 a.m. Thursday, 3:30 p.m. Sept. 24, and 11 a.m. Sept. 25): In this comedy directed by the legendary Pupi Avati and set in 1954 Bologna, 18-year-old Taddeo dreams of being a regular at a legendary cafe, frequented by a rogues’ gallery of characters. When Taddeo is chosen to be the chauffeur for the cafe’s most glamorous patron, he gets a front seat to observe the interesting lives of these men.
» "The Wind Blows Round (Il Vento Fa Il Suo Giro)" (1:30 p.m. Thursday, 3 p.m. Sept. 25, and 4:55 p.m. Sept. 26): An award-winning drama from director Giorgio Diritti about a young French family that moves into a remote and fading Italian Alpine village to make goat cheese. The community is spurred into long-forgotten activity, reviving an old farmhouse for the new family. But the more the outsiders succeed, the more enemies they acquire in the village.
» "The Cézanne Affair (L’uomo Nero)" (4:05 p.m. Thursday, 9:45 p.m. Sept. 25): A bittersweet drama about small-town Italian life in 1967 focuses on a stationmaster who feels his artistic ambitions have been thwarted due the sacrifices he made for his family.
» "Basilicata Coast to Coast" (8:55 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 25, and 2:45 p.m. Sept. 26): Four disgruntled, small-time musicians decide to make a 10-day trek by foot to a festival — a trip that normally would take 45 minutes by car. The group is joined by a grumpy journalist sent to chronicle the trip across their home region of Basilicata (located at the top of the arch on the boot of Italy. But along the way, good humor, adventure and the spark of romance take their blues away.
» "The Man Who Will Come (L’uomo Che Verrà)" (6:35 p.m. Thursday, 1:15 p.m. Sept. 24, and 9:35 p.m. Sept. 26): Diritti’s follow-up to "The Wind Blows Round" is a powerful and critically acclaimed historical drama, seen through the eyes of a mute 8-year-old child. It chronicles the massacre of the villagers of Marzabotto by German SS troops in 1944, as a reprisal for support of partisan activity.
» "The White Space (Lo Spazio Bianco)" (5:30 p.m. Sept. 25, and 9:35 p.m. Sept. 26): Margherita Buy won a best actress award at the Venice Film Festival for her portrayal of a middle-aged woman who finds herself pregnant after a brief fling. When she gives birth to a premature baby, she moves into a hospital’s special-care unit, where she encounters a world of women in similar situations.
» "Terra Madre" (1:20 p.m. Sept. 25 and 11 a.m. Sept. 26): The documentary of the international gathering, held every two years in Turin, Italy, of worldwide food producers united in the Slow Food movement. Promoting biodiversity, sustainability and economic fairness, Terra Madre (Mother Earth) uses the analogy of Planet Earth as a mother of limited resources who will not be able to continue feeding her growing brood unless her needs are understood and fulfilled.
» "We Can Do That (Si Può Fare)" (11 a.m. and 10:20 p.m. Sept. 24): An audience favorite from last year’s Cinema Italiano festival returns for a pair of re-screenings. In this comedy-drama, a trade unionist loses his job and is recruited to manage a cooperative of former mental patients, which he does with compassion in stressing the dignity of work.
» "Me, Them and Lara (Io, Loro e Lara)" (5:30 p.m. Sept. 25 and 7:10 p.m. Sept. 26): The new comedy from actor/director Carlo Verdone has him playing a priest who returns to Italy after serving as a missionary in Africa. Hoping to regain his faith in the loving arms of his family, he instead finds his home in an uproar.