In Italian “passaparola”, in English “word of mouth”, probably the world’s oldest marketing tool, but still highly efficient. A glimpse at the studies run by an analysis giant like Nielsen is sufficient to see that advice from a trusted acquaintance is an insuperable means of persuasion.
So why not also apply this method as an indication of which recent Italian films are best suited to the tastes of those spectators throughout the world who appreciate Italian cinema?
This is why this year again MEDIA Salles has asked several exhibitors all over Italy to suggest titles to their colleagues abroad.
A varied panorama emerges: productions that have already been widely distributed outside Italy – “Dogman” and “Ella and John” to quote just two titles, according to the advice of Giancarlo Giraud, of the Club Amici del Cinema in Genoa – but also works that have only just started out on their journey across borders or still have to be discovered by international audiences. This is what we want to focus on.
Let’s start with a début: “Boys Cry” by the D’Innocenzo brothers, recommended by Mimmo Dinoia, an exhibitor in the Milan area. This is a first film, yet solid and powerful, released in mid- November in France and the Netherlands and expected for 12 December in Belgium.
It will also be seen in the Middle East, China and Oceania. Again, Dinoia also mentions “Manuel”, a first film by Dario Albertini, which came out in March in France, before it did in its home country.
“The Prophecy of the Armadillo” marks Emanuele Scaringi’s first step into the world of full-length features: Riccardo Bizzarri, of the Cinema Zenith in Perugia, advises it to his colleagues abroad. Another first film is “Zen in the Ice Rift” by Margherita Ferri, tipped by Alberto Surrentino, programmer for the King – a landmark for quality cinema in Catania – thanks to its success in dealing with a universal theme like the search for identity in adolescence. Surrentino also gives us a tip for a second film “Tito and the aliens”, once again by a female director, Paola Randi, capable both of amusing and of moving the emotions.
Many of our interviewees, including Dinoia and Arrigo Tomelleri of the Cinema Verdi in Candelo, who appreciated its freshness and candour, agreed on this film, which was highly applauded at the Turin Film Festival, by foreign spectators, too.
Next spring the film will start its career on the German- speaking markets. Its release there comes thanks to Eksystent, a young distribution company whose aim is to make known some international filmmaking.
The rights for the Polish market have instead been bought by Kino Swiat, the same company that began distributing “Suspiria”, by Luca Guadagnino, on 2 November.
Alessandro Tizian, of the Multisala Cinergia in Rovigo, concentrates exclusively on those productions that risk being left in the shadows, despite their quality. He recommends “Uno di Famiglia”, by Alessio Maria Federici, defining it an incredibly realistic film in comic style.
Alfonso D’Amelio of the Cinema Nuovo in Lioni also appreciates it and adds “I am Tempesta” to his list.
Giuseppe Gambina, of the Cinema Golden in Vittoria, and Giulio Rossini, of Varese’s Filmstudio 90, also believe foreign audiences would like this film, particularly because it narrates a piece of Italy dealt with very little on the big screen.
In Rossini’s opinion, foreign cinemas should also welcome “Resina”, Renzo Carbonera’s début as director, which gained little attention from the critics but was well received by audiences.
This film – the first to be made according to the “T-green” protocol of the Trentino Film Commission – came out on the Chinese market, thanks to Lemon Tree Media.
Gambina and Rossini also agree on “Just Like my Son”, the second film by Costanza Quatriglio – a Croatian-Belgian co-production, just out in France. Amongst the novelties recently released in Italian cinemas is also “La fuitina sbagliata”, by Mimmo Esposito, appreciated by Vincenzo and Francesca Lungaro of the Cinema Esperia in Alcamo, as well as “In viaggio con Adele”, a first film by Alessandro Capitani, suggested by Antonio Padula of the Piccolo in Matera, joined by Silvia Protti of the Multisala Ariston in Mantua and Mario Lorini of the Cinema Garibaldi in Poggibonsi. Both the pure Sicilian sparkling comedy and the road-movie in Apulia still await a sales agent willing to introduce them to those international audiences that are so fond of landscapes and stories from Italy “off the beaten track”.
At the beginning of its international journey is the Neapolitan-style musical “Love and Bullets”, by the Manetti Brothers, tipped by Ferdinando Cicolella of the Cinema Cicolella of San Severo, Silvia Protti, Mario Lorini and Fabio Bressan, programmer at the Cristallo in Cesano Boscone. Released in Italy in 2017, it was seen in Portugal, thanks to Midas Filmes, in Japan, China and Oceania. Naples again comes to the big screen in two very different films. The first is the animated film “Cinderella the Cat”, tipped by Antonio Capellupo, programmer for the Arsenale in Pisa, and again by Protti, Gambina, D’Amelio and Padula – a film that has already found distributors in Europe – Portugal, France, Germany – and China.
The other, which was appreciated by Tomelleri, for example, is “Naples in Veils”.
Ozpetek’s film, which was also released in Italy in 2017, appears in many distributors’ catalogues, starting – not by chance – with Turkey, the country where the director was born.
In Europe it has already been seen in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Poland and Bulgaria and has also been purchased for Asia, from Thailand to South Korea passing through China, as in Oceania, thanks in the latter case to Palace Films.
The Gulf of Naples is also the star of “Capri Revolution”, the work by Mario Martone, co-produced with France, which is expected shortly on screens of the other side of the Alps. It is recommended by D’Amelio, Dinoia, Gambina, Padula and Protti who – perhaps not by coincidence – also appreciated “Naples in Veils”.
A close link with an area much loved abroad – and with one of the icons of the Italian lifestyle – comes with “The Last Prosecco”, a first film by Antonio Padovan.
It is recommended by Gambina and Tizian; the latter defines it a highly enjoyable film, in which the wonderful landscapes of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano act as the backdrop to a gripping “black” mystery. It has been, or will be seen in Poland (July 2018), China and Oceania.
D’Amelio and Gambina suggest another film – the rights of which have already been sold for Australia, New Zealand and China – with a particularly interesting setting: this time we are in the Milanese area, chosen by Francesca Archibugi for “Couch Potatoes”, a portrait of bourgeois adolescents, which is one of Bressan’s preferences, too.
The programmer of the Cristallo sees the appeal to art as one of the factors – as well as the originality of the language used to tell a story about the mafia – that make Roberto Andò’s “The Stolen Caravaggio” another film well suited to cross borders.
This opinion is shared by Francesca Polizzi, of the Multisala Apollo in Messina, who also suggests “Everything you Want”, by Francesco Bruni, a film in the style of the moment, capable of talking about affection and the meeting of generations in a unique way.
Lorini and Tomelleri also like it, stressing its positive message, which makes it a film particularly suited to theatrical viewing, just like “Easy”, a first film by Andrea Magnani, also tipped by Capellupo.
This film has already been released in Ukraine, the country that co-produced it, and has also found a distributor in Turkey and China.
The theme of the search for happiness reappears in “Hotel Gagarin”, an amusing and exciting comedy recommended by Vittorio Polin, an exhibitor in Montebelluna and Nicola Curtoni, an exhibitor who has recently returned from an experience of programming in France and now works with the Cinema Teatro Mignon of Tirano.
Simone Spada’s début has been purchased for several countries in the Balkans and for China. Still in the area of comedy, comes “Like a Cat on a Highway”, a recommendation from Vittorio Mastrorilli, exhibitor of the Cinema Pellico in Saronno, and Giulio Rossini.
Already released in the summer in Greece, Riccardo Milani’s film has found distributors in Spain, Estonia and Oceania.
And lastly a handful of films linked to well- established names, starting with Gabriele Salvatore’s “The Invisible Boy – Second Generation”, tipped by Lorini and Protti who stress its international mark.
Again Protti, but also Lorini and Bizzarri suggest “Euphoria”, the second film to be directed by Valeria Golino, which again explores the topic of illness, with a touch that is both light and profound. Recently released in Italy, programmed for France in January, it is also expected on a dozen other markets, including the Balkan Peninsula, Australia and New Zealand. “There is no Place like Home”, the most recent film by Gabriele Muccino – recommended by Gambina, Lorini, Padula, Tizian and the Lungaros – was earlier seen in April in Portugal and in August in Germany, Austria and France. The Lungaros from Alcamo also recommend “Tenerezza – Holding Hands” by Gianni Amelio, also appreciated by the near- homonymous D’Amelio and by Capellupo. With its release programmed by the start of 2019 in Japan, it has also found various distributors in South America.
“On my Skin”, the film by Alessio Cremonini presented at the Venice Film Festival amidst polemics caused because of its distribution by Netflix, deserves specific consideration. Recommended by D’Amelio, Polin, Rossini and Bressan, who emphasize its significance for civilization and its aesthetic values, it is released worldwide on the Netflix platform.
And last but not least, it is impossible not to consider added content, the real novelty of these past few years. Here there would be sufficient material for a separate article but we cannot fail to quote a handful of recommendations: from Salvatore Indino, of the Cristallo in Cesano Boscone “Bernini” and “Mathera”, from Vittorio Mastrorilli “Michelangelo Infinito”, from Ferdinando Cicolella “Caravaggio: the Soul and the Blood”, from Giulio Rossini “The Thieving Magpie”.
To sum up, cinema, art, music: these are the faces of Italy abroad.