ITALIAN FILM FESTIVAL OPENING NIGHT FEATURING ‘LORO’ REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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The first time I went to the Italian Film Festival was in 2008 and I asked Karen to come see with me Giorno E NuvoleDays and Clouds (2007). In the heady first weeks of dating Karen and I did not care for the film and did not care that we did not care for it. Just another date that’s real purpose was for us to be together. Centred around a well off middle aged couple declining to harder living conditions as the employment of the well establish husband is radically altered. Depressing and heartbreaking and all too real in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis. One thing that still remains with me years later is the power of the lead actress Margherita Buy.

 

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In 2009 we decided to play it safer and went with Michael Winterbottom’s Genova starring Colin Firth as the father of two daughters and a widow who moves to Italy as an academic to provide a seachange. Well intentioned, with beautiful scenery and thoughtfulness it still proved for the most part unengaging to us.

 

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Not trusting our own judgement we deferred to our friends in 2011 who had made good selections in the past for the French Film Festival and went to see Habemus PapumWe Have A Pope. Coming off a 10 minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival that moved director Nanni Moretti to tears something must have been lost in translation because I laughed nor cried but I did fall asleep on the lazy sunday afternoon screening we went to.

This is no reflection on the film festival itself, if you look at the programs for the years we went you will see universally acknowledged modern classics and crowd pleasers. It seems we just had a bad run of luck or made poor decisions for own tastes. Following the wonderful opportunity to interview Palace CEO Benjamin Zeccola last year for Scenestr magazine about the 2017 Italian Film Festival, I thought for sure I would take him up on one of his recommendations and see maybe a comedy like War for Love but alas circumstances kept us from the film festival last year too.

This year the opportunity to attend opening night for Scenestr magazine came up and having had such a wonderful last year at the Brisbane opening night for the Cine Latino Film Festival I couldn’t wait to take Karen with me this time. The film was Loro, directed by Paolo Sorrentino who made easily one of my favourite films of 2015 Youth along with the fantastic This Must Be The Place (2011) and The Great Beauty (2013), the latter I watched in anticipation of seeing Loro. Loro is easily the best film Karen and I have seen at the Italian Film Festival and an interesting film that holds your attention for the most part. It re-teams Sorrentino with Toni Servillo who gives a fantastic performance as the magnetic Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The opening half an hour becomes tedious despite its fireworks visuals and editing as it focusses on another character but when Servillo arrives the film grips. Upon reflection thought it comes across as some great ideas but lacking in overall vision. I suspect this is intended but I can’t say that excuses the lack of discipline. You can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/movies-and-tv/loro-italian-film-festival-brisbane-opening-night-review-20180921 but I cannot deny that the film lingers and Sorrentino remains one of my favourite directors to watch.

 

 

As for opening night itself, Karen and I had a wonderful time. There was a cheese table that had many a party goer hovering nearby, a live band, much wine and tasty h’orduvres making the rounds as the 2018 Lavazza Italian Film Festival kicked off in style. Grabbing our goodies bag though Karen and I eventually had to make our way home for me to start on my review. Our luck at the Italian Film Festival is definitely improving and there are plenty of wonderful films to check out this year yet.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises, Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for WA, SA, NSW, Vic and QLD every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. I feel very fortunate to get to write for them.

-Lloyd Marken

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INTERVIEW WITH ALLIANCE FRANCAISE FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL DIRECTOR PHILIPPE PLATEL AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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Another great opportunity to interview a film festival director came up at Scenestr magazine. The French Film Festival with its tour around Australia through various Palace Cinemas is now in its 29th year. I was lucky enough to interview Palace CEO Benjamin Zeccola last year in anticipation of their Italian Film Festival and now I got to talk to Mr Platel who is is the Festival Director of the French Film Festival which is run by Alliance Francaise with Palace Cinemas being their exhibition partner.

This conversation was illuminating for how films get chosen and some of the hidden gems of the festival were cited. You can read the piece here http://scenestr.com.au/movies/alliance-francaise-french-film-festival-keeps-on-rolling

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises, Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. I feel very fortunate to get to write for them.

-Lloyd Marken

INTERVIEW WITH PALACE CEO BENJAMIN ZECCOLA AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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I didn’t intend to go away for over a month, there’s been things I’ve been doing and I planned to post often but it just got away from me, overtime shifts, an impromptu getaway and feeble attempts to improve my health and sleeping patterns. So here we are and it’s been more than a month. I feel very frustrated that I’m not getting to write and read as much as I used to but the first thing I had to do was write about Kelly. Now that I’ve done that I will try to catch up on some things I’ve gotten published in the past month.

A few weeks back I jumped at the chance to interview the Festival Director of the Italian Film Festival which tours around Australia at this time of the year. Alas she was ill and last minute I got to speak to the CEO Of Palace Cinemas himself Benjamin Zeccola. Interviews are still a relatively new thing for me and often listening back to the tapes I hear a nervous interviewer building to his questions. How the hell was I gonna go with a CEO?! Well Mr Zeccola was so charming that I grew in confidence during our conversation. We spoke for about 30 minutes about how I met my wife at a Palace cinema, the changing landscape of media and how to program a film festival. It was a truly fascinating conversation with a man who revealed himself to be very grounded, a hopeless romantic but also a savvy businessman. It gave me a great deal of confidence coming out of it and made me realise what a dream it would be for me to do this for a living full time. Alas due to word count restrictions we were only able to print his thoughts on the 2017 Italian Film Festival which you can read here http://scenestr.com.au/movies/lavazza-italian-film-festival-coming-to-a-cinema-near-you

Later I attended the return of the Brisbane International Film Festival where his father Antonio Zeccola was acknowledged for his work in bringing back my favourite hometown film festival. I had thanked Benjamin and Palace for doing so during our interview and I feel eternally grateful for the privilege of being able to do that as a writer for Scenestr.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They also publish Scenestr magazine in print every month and I was lucky enough that this featured in all the September issues published across the country. In the Queensland issue it featured alongside another interview I conducted. A digital copy of the printed magazine with two interviews I did for the Queensland September issue can be found here http://scenestr.com.au/read/QLD/2017/1095-QLD/scenestr-QLD-1095.html#p=63

Scenestr18Scenestr focus mostly on music gigs, festivals, stand-up comics, fashion and interviews with local and international bands. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts.

-Lloyd Marken