The second annual Italian Film Festival was a great success. Associate Professor of Italian Dr. Cosetta Gaudenzi worked with Italian Film Festival USA to bring three recent films by up-and-coming directors to Memphis. The Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities was proud to present the films in conjunction with the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. We also received support from Magneti Marelli and the Italian Culture Institute, while our friends at the Italian-American organization UNICO generously provided delicious treats at the conclusion of each film.
At least 100 people attended each film and submitted ballots ranking the films, with the results helping to serve a larger competition run by Italian Film Festival USA. The Memphis festival began on Tuesday, March 27, with Into Paradiso, a hilarious film about an unlikely friendship between scientist from Naples and a former Sri Lankan cricket star, set against a backdrop of organized crime and immigration to Italy. On Thursday, March 29, over 140 people watched Scialla!, winner of the Contracampo Prize at the 2011 Venice Film Festival; the film humorously chronicles the tale of a washed-up writer who finds out that one of his listless students is actually his son. On April 3, the festival concluded with Tatanka, a drama based on a true story about a powerful boxer who cannot seem to shake the influence of the mob.
The Italian Film Festival was the last major event on the calendar of the Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities in 2011-2012. The season concludes on April 12 with an "informance" of the play The Arabian Nights, led by Dr. Kent Schull. Dr. Schull, a specialist on Middle Eastern history, will illuminate the complicated origins, manifestations, and meanings of this play in advance of the opening night performance. The informance is free and open to the public, at 6:00 p.m. in the CCFA lobby.