‘Italian Screens’ was inaugurated on October 12, 2022 by Ambassador of Italy to India, Vincenzo de Luca, in the presence of Roberto Stabile, Head of Special Projects of the DGCA of the MiC at Cinecittà, at Italian Embassy in New Delhi.
Cinephiles across Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, and New Delhi were recently treated to a first of a kind cinematic extravaganza titled ‘Italian Screens’—a unique film festival of contemporary Italian films, held from October 12-15, 2022. All screenings took place simultaneously, until 15 October, at PVR cinemas in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, and at the historic New Empire cinema in Kolkata. The festival was born out of the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI), Cinecittà for the Directorate General for Cinema and Audiovisual of the Ministry of Culture (DGCA-MiC), and the Academy of Italian Cinema – David di Donatello Awards. The festival was inaugurated on October 12, 2022 by the Ambassador of Italy to India, Vincenzo de Luca, in the presence of Roberto Stabile, Head of Special Projects of the DGCA of the MiC at Cinecittà, at the Italian Embassy in New Delhi. The documentary film based on the life of the legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone titled ‘Ennio,’ directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, was also screened on the occasion.
Other than ‘Ennio,’ the films screened in India as part of ‘Italian Screens’ included Michelangelo Frammartino’s ‘Il Buco’ (English title: ‘The Hole’), Mario Martone’s ‘Qui ridoio’ (English title: ‘The King of Laughter’), and Giorgia Cecere’s ‘Sulla giostra,’ among others. While ‘Sulla giostra’ told the story of an intense but ironic female duel over the fate of a family home, ‘Qui ridoio’ essentially was about the Neapolitan comic theater legend Eduardo Scarpetta. ‘Il Buco’ followed the extraordinary adventure of the young members of the Piedmont Speleological Group who explored Europe’s deepest cave in the untouched Calabrian hinterland as the bottom of the Bifurto Abyss, 700 meters below Earth.
‘Italian Screens’ can best be seen as part of the continuing cultural dialogue between India and Italy. It’s well documented that Italian cinema and Indian cinema have shared so much over the last several decades. “Italian cinema and Italian filmmakers have inspired Indian filmmakers, starting with the greats like Satyajit Ray, Raj Kapoor, and Bimal Roy, all the way to Anurag Kashyap. All of them have been have been admirers of Italian Neorealism and particularly the works of Vittorio De Sica and Cesare Zavattini. Also, from the Leone d’oro for Satyajit Ray’s ‘Aparajito’ in 1957 to Mira Nair’s ‘Monsoon Wedding’ in 2001, Italian audiences have appreciated the richness of Indian cinema,” rejoiced Ambassador Vincenzo de Luca.
He further added, “Italian cinema has discovered India for some time, with the Roberto Rossellini documentary series ‘L’India vista da Rossellini’ in 1959 and Pier Paolo Pasolini’s ‘Appunti per un film sull’India’ in 1968. Italy, today, is one of the ideal settlings for important Indian productions as many directors are choosing Italy as a shooting location for their films, the most recent being the Prabhas starrer ‘Radhe Shyam,’ shot in Piedmont, Italy. The Embassy of Italy and all the Consulates General in India aim to build a new bridge between our two countries with a deeply rooted background as far as cinema, arts and culture are concerned. We are increasingly focusing on cultural aspects with a remarkable economic impact too. Cinema is undoubtedly at the core of our action. Italy has won the maximum number of Oscars after the US. Also, the Italian artistes and technicians enjoy a great track record at all the major film festivals of the world.”
After India, the ‘Italian Screens’ will be held in Los Angeles from October 31 to November 2, in Sao Paulo from November 4 and in Berlin from November 8-13. Subsequently, the festival will continue to travel around the world until 2023, from Buenos Aires to Washington, New York, Seoul, Tel Aviv and Bogotà. “The aim of the ‘Italian Screens’ to promote our cinema in some of the most important and iconic cities in the world through the collaboration between the diplomatic and consular network, the prestige of the Academy of Italian Cinema – David di Donatello Awards, and the country’s audiovisual industry. We want to present all the benefits that Italy offers to foreign operators to co-produce, shoot with us, or distribute our films in cinemas abroad. The idea is to combine cultural promotion with a more commercial one. We hope that the project will lead to a tenfold increase in appointments on all continents over the next couple of years,” explained Roberto Stabile, Head of Special Projects of the DGCA of the MiC at Cinecittà.
‘Italian Screens’ presented the best of new Italian cinema to film enthusiasts in India. “The initiative is a part of a great boost to further strengthen the cultural ties between India and Italy, hinged on tradition and innovation, creative industries, showbiz, design, classic and contemporary art. It’s a celebration of the extraordinary ‘Be IT’ campaign, the first ever Italian nation branding campaign, representing Italian excellence and Made in Italy. Our two countries boast a great cultural heritage together with a lively and increasingly innovative creative industry. Culture and creativity constitute the fundamental dimension of soft power of Italy and India,” summed up Ambassador de Luca.