The 19th Lavazza Italian Film Festival will screen at Palace Cinemas in Brisbane from Wednesday 19 September to Sunday 14 October, with more than 30 Italian films delivering Italian passion, drama, romance and style.

Sitting at the heart of the program are the festival’s special presentations which include 2018 winner of Best Original Screenplay at Cannes Film Festival Happy as Lazzaro, Alice Rohrwacher’s (The Wonders LIFF14) enchanting third film; and from Matteo Garrone, the director of Gomorrah comes Dogman – the Cannes Film Festival award-winning tale of a dog-lover in desolate Southern Italy who is driven to terrifying extremes by a violent local bully.

Strong dramas are aplenty with films from much-loved directors featuring famous faces straight from the international circuit. Actress and director Valeria Golino (Rain Man), returns with Euphoria, a riveting drama about two brothers forced back into each other’s lives. Acclaimed crime-drama Boys Cry in which two boys who have always existed on the fringes of Rome’s underworld are suddenly pulled into it, is directed by the D’Innocenzo Brothers and co-stars Luca Zingaretti as the mafia boss. The Girl In The Fog, based on the eponymous bestselling novel, is a gripping thriller set amid a close-knit mountain village which follows the enigmatic Detective Vogel as he investigates the sudden disappearance of a young girl. Singer Luciano Ligabue’s multi award-winning dramedy based on his album of the same name Made in Italy stars Stefano Accorsi and Kasia Smutniak. Plus Ferrante Fever, a documentary about the mysterious author whose “Neapolitan Quartet” novels attracted legions of fans worldwide.

This year some of the biggest Italian comedies of the past 12 months will showcase at the festival including My Big Gay Italian Wedding, based on the hit off-Broadway play, is a chaotic, heart-warming trip to the altar as a young man travels to his conservative hometown to marry his fiancé. From the writer of Welcome to the North, Put Nonna in the Freezer stars Fabio De Luigi as the Tax Police’s most incorruptible officer whose world is upended when he falls for an unlikely scammer. Winner of Best Comedy at the Nastri d’Argento awards, Like a Cat on a Highway sees two parents from different worlds suddenly united by a common cause: to stop their teenage children from dating one another. And Love & Bullets, a 17-time international award-winner including Best Film at the Italian Academy Awards (David di Donatello), is a hugely entertaining mafia musical follows a family of schemers whose latest plan is threatened by true love.

This year the Lavazza Italian Film Festival will celebrate the work of renowned Turkish-Italian director and scriptwriter Ferzan Özpetek with a special spotlight on his work including the lush, Naples-set mystery Naples in Veils in which a medical examiner has a carnal affair with a man who later ends up at her examining table. Winner of Best Film at the 2003 Italian Academy Awards Facing Windows will also be shown, a tale of a woman stuck in a failing marriage and the Holocaust survivor she cares for, as well as the 2001 Italian Golden Globe winner Ignorant Fairies which follows a woman who befriends her husband’s lover after she finds out about his affair, and Loose Cannons, one of Ferzan Özpetek’s most awarded films, about a son’s journey home to southern Italy, to finally come out to his family.

The Lavazza Italian Film Festival will be presented by Palace Barracks and Palace Centre from Wednesday 19 September to Sunday 14 October.

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