Cinema Italian Style Back to Spice Up Awards Season

Cinema Italian Style is returning to Los Angeles for its 12th year of celebrating Italian filmmakers and actors.

This year, the event’s centerpiece is Italy’s foreign-language Oscar submission “Fire at Sea,” a documentary about the migrant crisis and its effect on the small Mediterranean island of Lampedusa. Gianfranco Rosi directed.

The film won the Golden Bear award earlier this year at the Berlin Intl. Film Festival.

Rosi will be in attendance at a screening Nov. 17 at the Egyptian Theater, which will be followed by a conversation between Rosi and Venice Film Festival director Alberto Barbera.

Fire at Sea” addresses a growing humanitarian crisis. The film’s subject matter is an issue that’s dividing Italy, says Camilla Cormanni, who co-founded Cinema Italian Style and is director of international events at Cinecitta Luce, the Italian film company sponsoring the event.

“There’s always this right wing trying to attack the idea of welcoming these people, but the majority of Italians believe that no one should be left alone in the freezing ocean,” Cormanni says. “We try our best to save them and find a better place for them to live.”

The film captures the the changes that have occurred in Italy over the past 20 years as a result of the immigration crisis. “Gianfranco spent one year on Lampedusa, and found a way to combine feature and documentary so that there is always a story,” she says. “He’s a real master of combining documentary stories and feature films.”

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The 10-day marathon of Italian movies kicked off Nov. 14 with the premiere of a re-mastered edition of 1962’s “The Easy Life,” directed by Dino Risi.

Attendees will get the chance to dig deep into the life of fashion icon Franca Sozzani with a screening of the biopic “Franca: Chaos and Creation,” directed by Sozzani’s son, Francesco Carrozzini.

Most of the films, including Ivan Cotroneo’s “One Kiss,” Paolo Genovese’s “Perfect Strangers,” and Claudio Giovannesi’s “Fiore,” have been selected by artistic curator Laura Delli Colli and American Cinematheque director of programming Gwen Deglise.

“We want to give a taste of contemporary Italians, of the fashion, of the beautiful art that we have,” Cormanni says. “We have a growing generation of actors and auteurs that were not there in the ’80s. That was a very difficult time for Italian cinema, but nowadays you really have a great amount of talent and many of them will be in L.A. for this event.”

Cinema Italian Style will close Nov. 23 with a series of documentary screenings, including “When Italy Ate in Black and White — Cinecittario,” by Andrea Gropplero di Troppenburg. The doc presents 20 recipes from Italian regions.

The event is co-presented by the American Cinematheque and Luce Cinecittà, under the auspices of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, in collaboration with the Consulate General of Italy in Los Angeles, the Italian Trade Agency and the Italian Cultural Institute. It will also screen works by other Italian directors.

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