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Two world premieres and much more at Annecy Cinéma Italien

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Over a quarter century after its founding, Annecy Cinéma Italien has become the most important showcase of Italian films in France. The 26th edition, to be held September 30-October 7, “offers the best of the season’s films, with a selection of works that helps understand Italian creativity today”, says festival director Jean A. Gili.

There are nine titles in competition, all first and second films, and for Gili are proof of the vitality of Italian cinema, given that “in the past there have not always been high quality debut films”.

Along with Italian crowd pleasers (including Claudio Cupellini’s Lezioni di cioccolato [trailer] and Fabrizio Bentivoglio’s Lascia perdere Johnny), the programme also includes two world premieres: Ago Panini’s Aspettando il sole (“Waiting for the Sun”), an ensemble film set in one night in a hotel, out in November through Mikado; and Lisa Romano’s Se chiudi gli occhi (“If You Close Your Eyes”), which the director says “uses comedy to deal with a very serious issue”.

New this year is a second competition section that, adds Gili “marks the development that the documentary is experiencing in Italy, further proven by the French release of titles such as Levi’s Journey [trailer], Biùtiful Cauntri and, soon, The Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio”. There are eight selected films, including Daniele Segre’s Morire di lavoro and We Also Want Roses by Alina Marazzi.

As always, there are many out-of-competition titles, from Paolo Sorrentino’s Il Divo [trailer] to Antonello Grimaldi’s Quiet Chaos [trailer, film focus]. There are also many retrospectives, photo exhibits and tributes – to Anna Magnani on the centenary of her birth, Antonio Pietrangeli forty years after his death, the Tuscan Region in collaboration with the local Film Commission and Paolo Virzì, recipient of this year’s Sergio Leone Award.

Gabriele Barcaro