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Italian Cinema In Manila, the 2018 Edition

It may not be common knowledge except to cinephiles, but the Big 3 when it comes to international Film Festivals are Cannes in France, Berlin in Germany, and Venice in Italy. And the Venice Film Festival will always be special to the Filipino film community as it’s where Lav Diaz’ Ang Babaeng Humayo romped off with the top prize Golden Lion in 2016. So it’s only fitting that the annual Italian Film Festival is subtitled from Venice to Manila, as Venice is considered the film capital of Italy. 



This year’s edition happens from November 14 to 18, and there are three Ayala Cinemas venues; Greenbelt 3, Central Square BGC, and UP Town Center. It’s a carefully curated selection of films being presented, strong on quality and diversity. From domestic dramas to black comedies, from unconventional musicals to a retrospective of iconic Italian directors Antonioni and Bertolucci. In short, it’s a little festival that promises to make a lot of noise, and showcase why Italian cinema beats with a heart that is very close to us Filipinos. 


For Film History buffs, Antonioni’s Red Desert which stars Monica Vitti, and Bertolucci’s epic Novecento, which stars a young Robert deNiro and Gerard Depardieu, should be of special interest. Be forewarned though that Novecento has a running time of a little over 5 hours.

My personal picks among the contemporary films are the following:



Ammore e Malavita - set in Naples, this 2017 release, is a gangland crime comedy that’s set to music, asking the question of what do you do when you’re a hired killer and discover your target is the girl you had a crush on back when you were in school? That this crime story has music in it should make it very interesting.


The Leisure Seeker - a drama set in the United States, with an Italian director, this one stars Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland and is about one last road trip for a couple in the twilight of their years, saddled by incipient senility. The lead cast alone is worth the trip to seek out this film.


Brutti e Cattivi - is a black comedy where a number of the physically handicapped we see on the streets join forces to commit a heist, and prove they can be as selfish and mean-spirited as any of us ‘normals’. It’s an inversion premise that holds much promise.

You can head to the Italian Film Festival 2018 website to check when and what time the films are showing. Coming so soon after the Spanish Film Festival, The Cinema One Originals, and the QC Film Festival, these certainly are happy times for us Cinema lovers. The broad selection, the diversity, and the opportunity, all mean the stars are aligned in a wonderful manner.