Italian film festival at Lucerna

Recent works from Italy will play for five days in Prague

A festival of Italian films will take place in Prague's Lucerna cinema from Dec. 1 to Dec. 5 and then move to Brno and České Budějovice. MittelCinemaFest 2016, as it is officially known, will be in its fourth edition in Prague, although the festival itself has been in Central Europe some 14 times already.

The films will be in their original languages with English and Czech subtitles. Tickets in Prague will be Kč 100, and in other cities Kč 120. The selection of films, chosen by Istituto Luce Cinecittà, is intended to showcase recent Italian cinema.

The festival starts with La pazza gioia (Like Crazy) starring Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Micaela Ramazzotti. The tale of two women who meet in a mental institution and flee in search of adventure was screened in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

Also on the opening day is Le ultime cose (The Last Things), which was at the International Critics’ Week of the 72nd Venice Film Festival. The film looks at the lives of people forced to sell off their possessions at a pawnshop due to economic troubles. It began with research for a documentary but had to be fictionalized to protect people's privacy.

Questi giorni (These Days) has four young women, each facing some sort of personal crisis, going on a trip to Belgrade and discovering something about their own lives along the way. The film was in the main competition at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival.

The coming-of-age theme pops up again in Fiore, which played in the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes. A young female thief is caught and sent to a juvenile prison, where she bonds with a fellow female inmate and falls in live with a prisoner on the male side of the detention center. They are separated by fences, though, and can only steal fleeting moments together.

Young romance continues in Piuma, another film from the main competition at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival. A couple's world is turned upside down by an unexpected pregnancy. It is the third film from Anglo-Italian director Roan Johnson.

Veteran director Marco Bellocchio's latest effort is Fai bei sogni (Sweet Dreams). It is described as the story of a secret hidden in an envelope for forty years. Valerio Mastrandrea and Bérénice Bejo star. The film, based on a novel by Massimo Gramellini, played at the Directors' Fortnight of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

A box office hit, Perfect Strangers (Perfetti sconosciuti) won the David di Donatello award for Best Film. Seven old friends play a game revealing their phone messages, showing that everyone has secrets, and nobody truly knows anyone else.

More secrets are revealed in The Confessions (Le confessioni) when a monk is invited to a meeting of economic ministers at an isolated estate. The film has overtones of an Agatha Christie story. Toni Servillo, Daniel Auteuil and Connie Nielsen are among the cast. The film won the Ecumenical Jury Prize at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

The story of conjoined twins who support their family by singing is told in Indivisible (Indivisibili). The teens have been exploited by their father but that comes into question when one of them falls in love.

The festival's screenings end with another strange tale, Orecchie (Ears). A man wakes up with ringing in his ears and finds a note from Luigi, saying he borrowed the man's car. The only problem is the man does not know anyone named Luigi. It will be a long day. This odd film is in black and white.

The festival is held thanks to the Italian Cultural Institute in Prague, the Italian Embassy, Istituto Luce Cinecittà and Lucerna-Barrandov, with help from the City of Prague, CAMIC – the Italo-Czech Chamber of Commerce, the Italian Business Center and other groups and sponsors.

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