In modern times one of the most popular means to promote the Italian culture has been through film. During time of war film has always been a means of propaganda and a way to lift the spirits of the county and in post war a means to reflect on the spirit and emotional condition of the country. Film is also a way to tell the world that you are open for business and want to display your culture.
The 2019 Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) – Italian Style was a way for everyone to see the history and culture of Italy through the eyes of the film characters. Each year, in my opinion, SIFF – Italian Style gets better and better; humor and storytelling more sophisticated and well, violence is a way of looking at history in the making.
Why more folks from the Italian American community do not attend has always bewildered me. If one arrives just before a movie showing they can get a pass for free parking. In the case of the SIFF Uptown at the base of Queen Anne, lots are within walking distance just around the corner from the theater. If you happen to know a sponsor there is always a good chance to get a free voucher to attend a showing. As for those folks that say they never learned Italian for one reason or another, nearly every movie has English subtitles. Add these factors all up and you have few reasons to say no and most likely, a chance at a good time out with friends and lovers for high quality entertainment. There is also the option of going to opening and or closing night party, as well as a wine tasting event at the theater by one of the sponsors.
This season was from November 7-14. My wife Dale and I saw all fifteen films in those seven days. To sum up just a few movies we thought were fun, cleaver and or very interesting.
Parents in Progress. A group of parents have virtually only one thing in common; their children go to the same school. Most all of these parents are single and get together at the invitation of the main character and their son for his birthday party. What they and their children do not have in common is well, apparently everything.
Lucia’s Grace. A single mom is a professional land surveyor. She is hired to confirm a piece of property where her client wants to build a fun park. What she finds is a major discrepancy from the property’s records. While she is working the Madonna appears to her and wants a church built there instead. They engage a friendly argument over the film. This is one story that Ray Petri would have gotten a kick out of as a surveyor.
My Brother Chases Dinosaurs. A boy’s family is planning to have another addition in the form of a little brother. His parents tell him that this new son has super powers. As they grow up together he realizes that his little brother really has down syndrome and needs his protection and honesty; even when he becomes interested in a young sophisticated woman.
The Traitor. A made man in organized crime has his friends and family members killed in the course of business as he escapes to Brazil. In order to even up the score he uses the law and the courts to bring everyone to justice.
Selfie. Two friends live in Traiano when their friend is shot by a policeman. They are approached by Director Agostino Ferrente to record their summer together and their feelings about the event – on their cell phones – which is used for constructing the film.
You will get another chance to see SIFF – Italian Style in the spring event.
Joel Patience is an independent writer and watercolor artist that together with his wife Dale Bonn find inspiration in their travels to Italy. They are also students of Italian language. Joel is a sponsor of SIFF – Italian Style.