Published: April 3, 2019 By

Italian Film Festival USA Boulder to present six critically acclaimed Italian films in April

The nation’s largest Italian film festival is back at the University of Colorado Boulder for another year of critically acclaimed Italian films—this time featuring thieves, forbidden love, Italian cuisine, pregnancy, prison and Caravaggio’s The Nativity.

The Italian Film Festival USA of Boulder, which runs during two weekends in April, will feature six recent films that are still largely unavailable in the United States in their native language with subtitles, as well as introductions by local experts and the film’s directors, all in an effort to expose the Boulder community to the people, language and culture of Italy through cinema.

Which, says Michela Ardizzoni, an associate professor of Italian at CU Boulder and one of the event’s co-organizers, is one of the main reasons behind the event.

“I feel that when people talk to me about Italy, they know gelato and pizza, which are great, and they do exist and they’re wonderful, but there’s more,” says Ardizzoni. “There’s more that is magnificent and there’s more that is not so good, and I think it’s important for people to know closer to the reality of what Italy is about.”

The festival began in St. Louis in 2005 with the hope that it would “provide the public the opportunity to see films that have not yet or may never be seen locally.” Since its inception, it’s grown steadily in communities across the United States, and has gotten to the point that last year more than 13,000 people attended the festival. Boulder first held the festival in 2010, with the current organizers—Ardizzoni and Cosetta Seno, an associate professor of Italian—taking over in 2016.

This year, the festival has expanded and will be held in 14 different cities: Boston, Boulder, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Memphis, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Salt Lake City and St. Louis.

The festival, however, is a little different in each city, where local organizers choose what and how many films they show. This year, the Boulder chapter of the festival will have six films:

Like a Cat on a Highway (Come un Gatto in Tangenziale)

Thursday, April 4 • 6:30 p.m. • Eaton Humanities 150

Introduction: Christopher Braider, chair of the Department of French and Italian and professor of distinction in French, CU Boulder

Synopsis: Giovanni and Monica are the most diverse people on the face of the earth. He is an intellectual, a proponent of social integration and lives in the center of Rome; she is a former supermarket cashier who deals every day with the multicultural environment of her suburban neighborhood. They would never have met if their children did not start dating. The two have a common goal: The friendship between their children, like a cat on the highway, must end!

(Director, Riccardo Milani, Comedy, 2018, 98 min.)


The Stolen Caravaggio (Una Storia Senza Nome)

Friday, April 5 • 6 p.m. • Eaton Humanities 150

Introduction: Priscilla Craven, Italian teaching professor, CU Boulder

Synopsis: Valeria, the young secretary of a film producer, lives a secluded life in the same apartment building as her eccentric mother, and pens anonymous scripts for a successful screenwriter, Alessandro. One day she is approached by a mysterious man who gives her an unusual gift: the plot for her next script. But that plot turns out to be a dangerous one: the story without a name is, in fact, about the mysterious1969 theft of a famous painting by Caravaggio, The Nativity, carried out in Palermo by the Mafia.

(Director, Roberto Andò, Drama, 2018, 110 min.)


As Needed (Quanto Basta)

Saturday, April 6 • 6 p.m. • Eaton Humanities 150

Introduction: Susanna Saurini, Italian instructor, CU Boulder

Synopsis: Arturo, a talented chef with a troubled past, is assigned to serve community time as a cooking instructor at a school for teenagers with Asperger’s syndrome. One of the students, Guido, is very talented and passionate about cooking. Will the improbable friendship between the two help Arturo change his life around?

(Director, Francesco Falaschi, Comedy, 2018, 92 min.)

Note: There will also be a corresponding exhibit (organized by Italian Senior Instructor Chiara Torriani) on Italian world-renowned chef Pellegrino Artusi, author of The Art of Eating Well, in the Eaton Humanities living area.



Thursday, April 18 • 6 p.m. • Visual Arts Complex Auditorium 1B20

Introduction: Suzanne Magnanini, associate professor of Italian, CU Boulder

Synopsis: Manuel, who just turned 18, leaves the education center where he was placed five years before when his mother was jailed. Happy to feel free again, he has just one objective: to help his mother get her remaining years of imprisonment commuted to house arrest. In order to receive the commuted sentence, Manuel must present himself to the authorities as a responsible adult, able to watch over his mother while he is working. It is a big responsibility for a young man.

(Director, Dario Albertini, Drama, 2017, 97 min.)


Bob & Marys

Friday, April 19 • 6 p.m. • Eaton Humanities 150

Introduction: Olga Vasile, French and Italian lecturer, CU Boulder

Synopsis: Roberto and Marisa are a couple who have been married for almost 30 years, leading a tranquil and uneventful life. That is until one night a band of ruthless criminals breaks into their house and fills it up with boxes containing mysterious, but definitely illegal, contents. This practice, known as “accùppatura” requires the innocent homeowners to warehouse the illegal merchandise for the criminals. As the days pass, the couple decides to make a bold move.

(Director, Francesco Prisco, Comedy, 2018, 100 min.)


The Vice of Hope (Il Vizio Della Speranza)

Saturday, April 20 • Catered Reception starts at 5 p.m. • Film begins at 6 p.m. • Eaton Humanities 150

Introduction: Francesca Howell, adjunct faculty at Naropa and author of Food, Festival and Religion: Materiality and place in Italy, London and NY (2018).

Synopsis: Maria lives a hand-to-mouth existence, without dreams or desires, as she ferries pregnant women across the river like a modern-day Caronte. But hope will pay her a visit, in its most powerful form, teaching her that staying human is the greatest of all revolution.

(Director, Edoardo De Angelis, Drama, 2018, 96 min.) 

This event is sponsored by the French and Italian, Media Studies, Women and Gender Studies and Cinema Studies and Moving Image Arts departments and is free and open to the public.