BY ZIVISAI CHAGAKA

A fascinating line-up of Italian films started live-streaming yesterday to film enthusiasts in Southern Africa, including Zimbabwe.

The five-day regional event — dubbed the Italian Film Focus in Southern Africa 2021 — will see 12 films from Italy being screened simultaneously in South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe until Tuesday.

The general public can watch the films safely and in the comfort of their homes as and when they choose.

In a statement from the Italian embassy, bookings were open online since Wednesday.

The package includes access to 12 of the best films from Italy from last year over five days.

The statement said there are limited openings for the event and the bookings can be made online.

All the 12 films will be screened online daily and those who would have booked can choose the films they wish to watch at any particular day and time over the duration of the festival.

“For the first time, this 21st edition will be a regional event and will be available to a much larger public in South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The online streaming will allow the public to safely and comfortably enjoy all the films at their own convenience,” the statement from the embassy said.

“A high-quality selection of films will be available, showcasing the variety of genres and themes that characterise Italian cinema.

“Eleven films presented in the most prestigious international festivals in the last season have been selected and one would be a tribute to celebrate what would have been Federico Fellini’s 100th birthday.”

Fellini (1920-1993) is an Italian film director and three-time Oscar winner who was one of the most celebrated and filmmakers post-World War II period.

The programme also includes live interactions with film directors each day at 6pm, the statement added.

Some of the films to be featured include award-winning Hidden Away (Volevo Nascondermi) by Giorgio Diritti, whose protagonist, Elio Germano, won the award for best actor at the Berlin 2021 festival.

It is the story of a great Italian self-taught painter, Ligabue, continuously balancing between genius and madness. The director will present the film with a live introduction and participate in a question-and-answer session.

Other films to be screened include Thou Shalt Not Hate (Non Odiare). This is a raw story that delves deeply into the dark soul of Italy and of the characters where punishment, vengeance and destruction and victims and murderers are being confused; Romantic Guide to a Lost Places (Guida Romantica a Posti Perduti), a journey becomes once more a condition of encounter and confrontation in a decidedly more intimate story, but again between two figures that are marginalised in their own way, with two splendid actors such as Jasmine Trinca and Clive Owen; and a great classic will add up to the selection, to celebrate the three-time Oscar winner Fellini on the centenary of his birth — Juliet of the Spirits (Giulietta degli Spiriti) — with the director’s wife, Giulietta Masina portraying the visions, memories and mysticism of a middle-aged woman in her gradual path towards self-confidence and independence.

The event is supported by an Italian organisation, Controluce, and the embassies of Italy in Pretoria, Lusaka and Harare, as well as the Consulate-General of Italy in Johannesburg, the Consulate of Italy in Cape Town and the Italian Institute of Culture in Pretoria.

Bookings and information on the event can be obtained from the website https://cinekit.it/italian-filmfocus-20%in-southern-africa or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/italianfilmfocus. The full programme subscription is US$3,50.

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