La Dolce Vita

Cineastes live the good life with a bonanza of Italian films.

Italians make everything better. In their hands, scooters become Vespas, coffee becomes espresso, and murder becomes “a favor.” A film such as Voyage to Italy (1953) — in which a bored English couple takes long, conversation-less walks — becomes, in Italy, an orgy of lyrical romanticism. The Godfather II surpasses Part I because it’s partially set in Italy. Basically, any film in which an Italian kills another Italian is guaranteed to be a classic. Even American film is unimaginable without Italian culture. Never mind Scorsese and Coppola; without Fellini, there's no Woody Allen. Without Rossellini, there's no Wes Anderson. Without De Sica, there's no Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. But because of the boorishness of most American theater chains, it's difficult to see recent Italian movies, and that's why the sixth annual Italian Film Festival at Regal Cinemas South Beach is a must-see.

Director Claudio Di Persia, a former vice president at Sony Pictures, personally screens hundreds of Italian films every year and selects the 10 best for this fest, so every showing is Oscar-worthy. Then there are the famous afterparties, which require the $250 VIP Passport. Film geeks can stick to the $60 movie pass, and individual films cost only $10. The festival opens this Thursday and runs through Tuesday. Visit www.cinemaitaly.com for tickets.
Thu., Oct. 9, 2008

 
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