Grazie (or Thank You), Moviemov Italian Film Festival!

Moviemov Italian Film Festival returned to Manila for the third year last July 23 to 27 at the Shang Cineplex in Shangri-la Plaza.

Who doesn't want free movie? Just before the movie started.

The festival featured some of the most acclaimed Italian films of the previous year, as well as a few retro films showcasing the best of Italian cinema.

Admission to the moviehouse was free.  So a lot of us were delighted to catch a glimpse of Italian culture at a nil cost. 

Of course, we naturally have to make the free movie night a bonding with friends.

During the event, we were able to watch two Italian films - the Oscar-winning La Grande Belleza (The Great Beauty) and the comedy Smetto Quando Voglio (I Can Quit Whenever I Want).

1. La Grande Belleza is an Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language film. The film scores in on the life of a 65-year old successful journalist and socialite. There in the midst of the glitz of high society parties, he searches for life's meaning. In the end, the movie vaguely tells us that he found life's meaning at a pivotal point in his younger life. 

This film was declared the Audience Choice of this festival in Manila after each movie-goer was asked to rate each movie. 

Paolo Sorrentino directs the film with so much imagery, evoking varied emotions in the process. For us, this is a heralding example of art film at its best.

Personally, I was affirmed that indeed fame, power and wealth don't guarantee happiness in life. You cannot mask your emptiness with parties or material possessions. But it is not essentially bad to pursue these either. 

I believe God wants us to pursue the pleasures in life but in moderation so that we may ultimately prioritize pursuing the more important things in life - love in our family, friends and relationships. And these convictions were further solidified in me after watching the movie. 

2. Smetto Quando Voglio was a surprise hit for us. It was in fact a bro-comedy much in the tradition of the Hangover series. 

This tells a story of a neurobiologist who just lost his job. Desperate to earn money, he puts together a team of geniuses to break into the illegal drug-selling business. Their perils and misfortunes are comically chronicled here.

There are times when I found myself laughing out loud even when the joke is in Italian, good props to the subtitling team! This comes to show how human interest and humor are indeed universal. 

For the naively erring main character, there is no redeeming social value for him as he still remains - from the beginning to the end - genius and naive.  

There were still other films in the festival which may also have been interesting to watch. The festival movie schedule was as follows:

8:00 pm         Allaciate Le Cinture (Fasten Your Seatbelts)

11:30 am       Il Sud E Niente (South is Nothing)
6:00 pm        Allacciate Cinture (Fasten Your Seatbelts)
8:00 pm        La Grande Belleza (The Great Beauty)
7:00 pm        Drama Della Gelosia (The Pizza Triangle)

6:30 pm         Il Sud E Niente (South is Nothing)
8:30 pm         A Tutto Tondo (Short Film) and Anni Felici (Those Happy Years)

11:40 am       Anni Felici (Those Happy Years)
1:50 pm        Anni Felici (Those Happy Years)
4:00 pm        La Grande Belleza (The Great Beauty)
8:00 pm        C’eravamo Tanto Amati
11:00 am       Anni Felici (Those Happy Years)
4:00 pm        Il Sud E Niente (South is Nothing)
6:30 pm        Smetto Quando Voglio (I  Can Quit Whenever)
8:30 pm        Il Capitale Umano (Human Capital)
12:00 pm       La Cena (The Dinner)
5:00 pm        Benur: Un Gladiatore in Affito

11:00am        Il Capitale Umano (Human Capital)
2:00 pm        Smetto Quando Voglio (I  Can Quit Whenever)
4:00 pm        Closing Ceremony
12:00pm        Benur: Un Gladiatore in Affitto
3:00 pm       A Tutto Tondo (short film)

Our Italian movie-watching spree, taught Jacq and I two things:
- We found it nice to study the Italian language. So that we'll be able to speak more than "Grazie" or "Buongiorno" (Thank you or Hello respectively) in the future. 

There's a colorful and bold way Italians say things that inspire us to live an equally passionate life as well. Plus a little bit of Italian might come in handy when we visit Santo Papa someday in Italia, or when he visits the Philippines soon in January 2015!

- Watching films like these, although you painfully strain at following the English subtitles, expands your horizon. These allow us to have a glimpse and appreciation of the culture outside our own, which I deem is a must in our globalized world today. 

Make sure to catch the free screenings in the Italian Film Fest when it visits Manila again next year. At a cost of nothing, you'll have plenty of the famous Italian passion to take home with you. 

Thank you Moviemov Italian Film Festival! Again, grazie!




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