Film Ital­ian style Cine-Festa Italia, a four-day fes­ti­val of Ital­ian film

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO - Molly Boyle

Ital­ians are cer­tainly not the first peo­ple who come to mind when con­sid­er­ing the city of Santa Fe. But ac­cord­ing to Lisa Con­tarino, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the up­com­ing Ital­ian film fes­ti­val CineFesta Italia, many vis­it­ing Ital­ians in­stantly feel at home in the City Dif­fer­ent. “In Italy, the colo­nial Span­ish his­tory is not dis­sim­i­lar — it’s a lit­tle more south­ern Ital­ian. The Span­ish were all over Si­cily,” Con­tarino told Pasatiempo. She said a con­tin­gent of tourists who came to Santa Fe last fall fell in love with the city’s land­scape, im­me­di­ately com­fort­able with old build­ings that bear the hall­marks of Span­ish ar­chi­tec­ture.

“There’s a res­o­nance with Ital­ians, with New Mex­ico’s love of cul­ture, of food, of good things, the land, the earth, of cul­ti­va­tion,” said CineFesta’s cre­ative di­rec­tor, Luca Cec­ca­relli. Con­tarino and Cec­ca­relli are hop­ing to cap­i­tal­ize on that cul­tural re­sem­blance. Orig­i­nat­ing three years ago as the Santa Fe branch of the New Mex­i­can Ital­ian Film and Cul­ture Fes­ti­val based in Al­bu­querque, CineFesta now stands on its own. The fes­ti­val is fu­eled by a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Ital­ian gov­ern­ment agen­cies and lo­cal bene­fac­tors to ben­e­fit two lo­cal char­i­ties, Com­mu­ni­ties in Schools and Cook­ing with Kids. Fea­tured films run Wed­nes­day, June 1, through Satur­day, June 4, while the rest of June in­cludes events that high­light Ital­ian cul­ture, art, and food.

Cec­ca­relli, a Ro­man film­maker who came to Santa Fe at age twenty to at­tend St. John’s Col­lege, has cu­rated a lineup of lit­tle-seen con­tem­po­rary Ital­ian movies. “What I’ve been fo­cus­ing on is a lot of fresh voices in Ital­ian cin­ema. A lot of them are first-time or fe­male di­rec­tors,” he said. “Around the world there’s been a great flux in gen­der iden­tity and gen­der pol­i­tics in the last year or two, and no less in Italy. I wanted to high­light films that are re­ally re­flect­ing that flux. … The role of women is evolv­ing on a large scale for a coun­try and a so­ci­ety that was very rigid and pa­tri­ar­chal.” More un­con­ven­tional roles for women are borne out in his choice of Le Mer­av­iglie (The Won­ders, 2014), a film about a fam­ily of bee­keep­ers di­rected by Alice Rohrwacher and star­ring her sis­ter, Alba Rohrwacher, along with the in­can­des­cent Mon­ica Bel­lucci. The picture won a Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val, along with sev­eral other in­ter­na­tional awards on the fes­ti­val cir­cuit. An­other woman-di­rected film,

Vergine Gi­u­rata (Sworn Vir­gin, 2015), which also stars Rohrwacher, cen­ters on the story of a woman who de­clares her eter­nal vir­gin­ity and goes to live life as a man in the moun­tains of Al­ba­nia. Cec­ca­relli said Per Amor Vostro (For Your Love, 2015) is about a woman look­ing for a place in an evolv­ing so­ci­ety and stars Va­le­ria Galino, a revered Ital­ian ac­tress who made her Hol­ly­wood de­but in Rain Man (1988).

The fes­ti­val will also show short films and doc­u­men­taries, a cou­ple of which fo­cus on Ital­ian food and wine.

Terra Madre (Mother Earth, 2009) de­tails the slow food move­ment in Italy and be­yond, which Cec­ca­relli hopes will res­onate with foodie Santafesinos, while Barolo Boys: The Story of a Revo­lu­tion (2014) charts the rise of Barolo wine­mak­ing. Con­tarino noted that two Si­cil­ian pas­try chefs are trav­el­ing to the fes­ti­val to pre­pare distinc­tive desserts at events through­out the four days of film screen­ings. On June 4, a slow food re­cep­tion at Os­te­ria d’As­sisi, the down­town res­tau­rant owned by fes­ti­val spon­sor Lino Per­tusini (an hon­orary con­sul of Italy in New Mex­ico), will fea­ture a three­course menu fo­cus­ing on lo­cal in­gre­di­ents.

The month’s lineup of cul­tural events fea­tures cook­ing demon­stra­tions and art shows at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing an ex­hi­bi­tion of Fu­tur­ist-in­flu­enced sculp­ture by Gior­gio Cec­ca­relli, who hap­pens to be Luca’s fa­ther, and pho­tog­ra­phy by Tony Bo­nanno, who comes from the same small town in Si­cily as Con­tarino’s fam­ily. These in­tri­cate con­nec­tions are a hall­mark of an or­ga­ni­za­tion that de­pends heav­ily on the net­work be­tween Italy and New Mex­ico. Con­tarino said, “We’re very lucky to re­ceive pa­tron­age from the con­sul gen­eral. One of the hard­est things for a start-up film fest is cred­i­bil­ity.” But with an en­tic­ing lineup of food, films, and art, it seems that CineFesta is poised to be the real deal.

Per Amor Vostro (For Your Love) Se Dio Vuole (God Will­ing) Terra Madre (Mother Earth) Vergine Gi­u­rata (Sworn Vir­gin)

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