Italian Film Festival

The third annual Italian Film Festival, featuring contemporary films from Italy,  is happening right now!  It started on Wednesday and runs until tomorrow.  The past two years, I bought passes and attended every single film shown.  This time around I got to see only 4 films (on Wednesday and Thursday evenings).

I hated to leave for the coast this weekend as I am missing out on some more great films!  The first film I saw on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. was probably one of the best films I have ever seen called Terraferma.  I am sure it will be coming out on DVD as it is winning prizes already.  The film is Italy’s official Oscar  submission for Best Foreign Language Film!

Scene from Terraferma

Terraferma is about a Sicilian family of fishermen living on the Sicilian island of Linosa. The island was so reminiscent of the nearby Sicilian island of Pantelleria, where I have held three yoga retreats.  In the film, illegal African migrants arrive by boat and challenge the very fiber of each family member.  It is a social conscience film and deals with the hot issue of what to do with all the many people arriving illegally, escaping horrific conditions, and risking their lives for a chance to live another less harsh life.  The islanders are conflicted by the law of the country, which says to report illegal migrants and to not help them -even if they are drowning at sea- and by their own laws, or moral codes, as kind and caring human beings and the wisdom of old that says to never turn your back on someone in need.  It is such a powerful film and so artistically and exquisitely filmed.
The director Crialese is of Sicilian heritage and grew up in Rome. He directed the film Respiro (if you haven’t see that, it’s really good and on Netflix).  The director was at the film festival, as was the main actress of the film. He fielded questions from the audience and was such a good speaker that the audience was riveted, hanging on to his every word.   He has such a sense of landscape and has an extraordinary way of delving into the lives of the poor and the working class.

Boat hand, Barto, from the retreat I gave on Pantelleria! He could very well have been cast in Wednesday's film, Terraferma!!

The second one I saw, Colpo Celeste, was a coming-of-age film and it was horribly depressing (with superstition and Catholicism irrationally being stuffed down a  charismatic young girl’s throat).  Though almost unbearable to watch because of the intensity of the girl’s situation, it was still powerful and meaningful.  And lastly, both movies on Thursday, Immature and Love and Slaps, were good and humorous. Rick came for the 9 pm one,  Love and Slaps and enjoyed it.

I love the Italian film fest and am sorry about missing it.  However, I am now out here at the coast getting the house ready for the first weekend of December.  I have a yoga group of six who booked a weekend retreat here with us, so I am busy doing what I can do now ahead of time (Rick is emptying out the hot tub and refilling it etc etc for our guests).

Next week will be a week of Meditation on Gratitude for me. See, I am revving up for the Thanksgiving week, weekend, and celebration of my 50th birthday, which is on November 25th!  Yes, I was born on Thanksgiving Day,  though this year my birthday falls on a Friday.  Yes,  it’s happening…I am about to enter my fifties.  Not sure how these things happen?  I feel great and, though it’s been a rough year leading to Friday, I am ready to dance my way into this second “half” of my life.

Little Francy and my (horrible) cousin Johnny (who punched me every chance he had and went so far as to burn my arm at a family barbecue on Lake Michigan!)


2 Responses to “Italian Film Festival”

  1. kay Says:

    i had no idea there was an Italian film fest! We will check it out next year.

    the 50’s are easy, cheesy. plus, you look no where near 50!

    let us celebrate you, dear Fran. you are well loved.


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