Italian cinema? All you need to know about it you can learn from the '80s classic Cinema Paradiso. The rich sit in balconies and spit on the lower classes, affairs are consummated in the darker corners of the theater, priests keep all the raunchy scenes to themselves, and, of course, teens masturbate in the front row. You have to admit, that makes for great theater -- though that's not exactly how we do things over here. Still, the Italian Film Festival, which our sister paper Miami New Times voted as Best Film Festival in 2008, is always an engaging affair.
The ninth edition brings in a slate of 11 new features, starting on Thursday with the opening screening of Paolo Genovese's Immaturi at 8 p.m. at the Regal Cinema South Beach (1120 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach). The film follows a group of immature Italian (isn't that redundant? -- burn!) friends who are fast approaching 40 when they get notification from the Ministry of Education: They must retake a test two decades or so after the fact or risk losing their respective careers. They reconnect and find that their personal lives are mostly in a shambles and discover the real reason they lost touch in the first place. Think the Big Chill or Grande Freddo, minus a suicide.
Other films include the thriller La Doppia Ora, the action flick 20 Sigarette, and the closing movie Il Padre e lo Straniero. And it wouldn't be the IFF without an equally impressive slate of afterparties, starting with the Opening Night Party at Set (320 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach) at 10:15 p.m. Thursday. New this year, there will be encore screenings of some of the flicks, in case you missed them the first time around. The festival runs through Tuesday; individual movie passes cost $10, but you can get a festival pass (good for all movies) for just $60. Tickets to opening night cost $50 and include admission to the afterparty. VIP passes cost $200. Visit cinemaitaly.com for screening times.
Thu., Oct. 6, 8 p.m., 2011