Films that proceed on their international journey and productions that are just starting to cross the borders of their home country: this is how Italian cinema abroad presents itself at the start of 2018.
The lion’s share comes from Call me by your name, the third title in Luca Guadagnino’s “trilogy of desire”, which began with “Io sono l’amore / I am Love” and continued with “A Bigger Splash”.
In Great Britain it was released on 27 October but three months on, Londoners are continuing to see it.
Mike Vickers, a programmer with long experience behind him, mentions with satisfaction its long run at the PeckHamplex, the six-screen complex known for its “no faff” approach and low-cost tickets, under 5 pounds at all times of day. Here Guadagnino’s film was on the programme for 10 weeks, thanks to the well consolidated British practice of screen- sharing, which gives the exhibitor the freedom to screen every film on the days and at the times that best suit its potential audiences.
Selected by the big circuits – for example Cineworld – as well as by independent cinemas – such as the previously mentioned “no frills” PeckHamplex – Call me by your Name is still on the big screens at the heart of London’s West End: at the Curzon Soho and at the Picture- house Central, as at the Odeon Luxe Hay– market.
Here the screening of Guadagnino’s latest work acquires special significance: the cinema, which re-opened on 14 December under this high-sounding brand name, replaces the Odeon Panton Street, famous thanks to foreign language productions, as well as cult and independent movies.
A strategy that the choice of putting on “Call me by your name” seems to confirm, even after the “super-luxury” renovations, including roomy, reclining seats and catering services.
If the United Kingdom, together with Ireland, was its first port of call, in the last quarter of 2017 “Call me by your name” came to more than ten markets, from the United States to Australia, taking in Canada and Sweden, whilst in 2018 another two dozen or so countries are to be added. The majority of European territories, ranging from Portugal to Romania, Spain to Norway, are joined by the Far East, with Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan, but also Latin America, including the vast market of Brazil.
Underlying this success are some of the key elements discovered both in practice and in the systematic analysis of the release dynamics for Italian films carried out by MEDIA Salles over the past years.
In fact “Call me by your Name” is not only a co-production but can also count on a distribution structure of international scope like Sony Pictures Releasing.
As well as this, as previously mentioned, it benefits from the international fame gained by the two other films that preceded it in the trilogy, thus overcoming one of the weaknesses of which Italian (or more generally European) cinema is generally accused, i.e. of producing shooting stars capable of winning the hearts of the public but destined to remain without any follow up.
“Call me by your Name” repeats some of the successful elements of its two predecessors: the strength of an international cast and the fact that Italy – to use Armie Hammer’s fitting metaphor – is the third star.
It is a film conceived to be of international scope and appeal, offering audiences all over the world the image of an Italy off the beaten track, not over-conventional, yet recognizable.
Crema is certainly not Venice or Rome but perfectly capable of conveying a sense of Italian lifestyle.
The fact of being a co-production with an international cast is a characteristic of another title that has risen to international fame in 2018: The Leisure Seeker, Virzì’s rst English- language film.
Sold abroad by Bac Films and also supported in many countries by Sony’s distribution network, it has come – or will be coming any minute – to over twenty markets. Since the beginning of 2018 it has been out in France, registering around 200 screenings daily, as well as in Belgium and Germany.
Apart from Guadagnino’s and Virzì’s films, which have succeeded in the ambitious task of becoming internationally distributed in a relatively short space of time, other Italian titles are obtaining visibility in these opening weeks of 2018.
This is the case of Cuori puri, by De Paolis, released in French-speaking and German- speaking Switzerland, Dobbiamo parlare by Sergio Rubini and Moglie e marito by Godano distributed in Argentina, A Ciambra by Carpignano, soon coming to Belgium, Hannah by Pallaoro, soon to be seen on screens in Belgium and the Netherlands, a country that will also see the release in February of 7 giorni by Colla and, in March, of Amori che non sanno stare al mondo by Francesca Comencini.