A selection of Italy’s latest cinematic highlights will screen at the forthcoming BFI London Film Festival (4 – 15 October)


Seven Italian feature films that will be shown at London Film Festival: Nico, 1988, Holding Hands, Equilibrium, A Ciambra, Call me by your name, Sicilian Ghost Story, and the restored version of Dario Argento’s cult thriller Suspiria.

 Susanna Nicchiarelli’s Nico, 1988 tells the tragic story of the former Velvet Underground singer, played by Trine Dyrholm, who also recorded her own vocals for the film. The film opened the Orrizonti section at the recent Venice International Film Festival, where it gained critical acclaim, and went on to win the Orrizonti Award for Best Film.

The 40th anniversary revival of Dario Argento’s iconic feature Suspiria (1977), starring Jessica HarperStefania Casini and Flavio Bucci, will play in the festival’s Cult section. The film has been recently restored in 4K from the original camera negative and intermediate negative elements.

sicilian-ghost-story-trees-lff17-967[1]Luca Guadagnino returns to the BFI London Film Festival with Call Me by Your Name, after 2015’s A Bigger Splash. Starring Armie Hammer Timothée Chalamet and Michael Stuhlberg, Call Me by Your Name makes its UK bow as The Mayor of London’s Gala, in the presence of Mayor Sadiq Khan. It had its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Guadagnino, coincidentally, is working on his own update of Argento’s Suspiria.

Acclaimed director Gianni Amelio’s newest work, Holding Hands (La Tenerezza), will have its European premiere in the Love section. The cast features Elio GermanoMicaela Ramazzotti and Giovanna Mezzogiorno.

The Festival’s selection also includes two second features by up and coming filmmakers, both coming-of-age tales set in Italy’s south. A Ciambra is directed by Jonas Carpignano and stars Pio Amato, Koudous Seihon and Damanio Amato. It won the Europa Cinemas Label Award at the 2017 Cannes International Film Festival, and has just opened in Italian cinemas. Sicilian Ghost Story, which also received its World Premiere in Cannes, is directed by Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza, and stars new talent Julia Jedlikowska, Gaetano Fernandez and Corrinne Musallari. Both films will play in the Giving section.

Equilibrium (L’Equilibrio), directed by Vincenzo Marra, diverts from traditional storytelling with its bold and innovative approach to narrative. It is presented in the Journey strand, following its World Premiere at the 2017 Venice International Film Festival, where it played in the Venice Days section.

In addition, three Italian co-productions feature in the programme: Three Peaks directed by Jan Zabeil and starring Berenice Bejo; Looking For Oum Kulthum directed by Shirin Neshat; and the 1960’s classic French co-production, La Veritè (Truth) directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot and starring Brigitte Bardot.




Director: Gianni Amelio

Cast:  Elio Germano, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Micaela Ramazzotti, Greta Scacchi, Renato Carpentieri, Arturo Muselli, Giuseppe Zeno, Maria Nazionale, Giovanni Esposito, Salvatore Cantalupo, Walter Lippa, Franco Pinelli, Enzo Casertano, Hedy Krissane, Lelio Serao

Thursday 5 Oct, 18:15 – Ciné Lumière

Saturday 7 Oct, 15:15 – Vue Leicester Square, screen 5

Strand: LOVE (103 mins)

Lorenzo, a discontented retired lawyer, strikes up an unexpected friendship with one of his new neighbours, a young mother superbly portrayed by Micaela Ramazzotti. As he gradually also becomes acquainted with her husband and two small children, his inertness starts to melt away. However, one day a fateful event takes place, which pushes Lorenzo to weigh up his entire life, including the disconnected relationship he has with his own grown-up children. Holding Hands is loosely based on Lorenzo Marone’s bestselling novel The Temptation to Be Happy, and is a delicately calibrated drama underpinned by great performances.


Director: Vincenzo Marra

Cast: Mimmo Borrelli, Astrid Meloni, Paolo Sassanelli, Roberto Del Gaudio, Francesca Zazzera, Giuseppe D’Ambrosio, Lucio Giannetti, Vincenza Modica, Autilia Ranieri

Thursday 5 Oct, 21:00 – Curzon Mayfair, screen 1

Friday 6 Oct, 12:30 – BFI Southbank, NFT1

Strand: JOURNEY (83 mins)

Giuseppe is an optimistic priest who has been working in Rome, following some time spent as a missionary in Africa. When he decides he wants to make himself useful in a small town near Naples, in the region where he is from, the bishop grants him his wish. Upon arrival, Giuseppe soon becomes confronted with the realities of a parish which has been left behind. The local parish priest has been fighting a battle against pollution caused by the illegal dumping of industrial waste, and daily life is dominated by the dark shadow of the local Mafia. The situation becomes increasingly tense when one of the inhabitants confides that one of the mobsters is sexually abusing a ten-year-old girl. Vincenzo Marra’s gritty and realistic drama brings to mind some of the socially concerned gangster movies produced in the 1930s, and features stellar performances from a largely non-professional cast.


Director: Dario Argento

Cast: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Udo Kier, Alida Valli

Friday 6 Oct, 21:00 – Picturehouse Central, screen 1

Saturday 14 Oct, 21:00 – Curzon Soho, screen 1

Strand: CULT (101 mins)

UK distributor: CultFilms

This sumptuous 4K restoration of Dario Argento’s masterpiece is still as influential as it is terrifying. With its highly distinctive cinematography, and an unnerving score by Goblin, Suspiria is an epic nightmare, which will stay with the viewer forever. Jessica Harper stars as the American ballerina Suzy Bannion, who arrives at the prestigious Tanze dance academy in Germany, oblivious to the ghastly events which await her. As a series of murders and other inexplicable incidents start to mount up, Suzy discovers that her new school houses a terrifying secret.

 Authorized 4K restoration made in 2016 by TLEFilms Film Restoration & Preservation Services, Germany on behalf of the world rights-holder, VIDEA Spa, Italy, from the original camera negative and intermediate negative elements.


Director:  Luca Guadagnino

Cast: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Esther Garrel, Amira Casar, Victoire Du Bois

Monday 9 Oct, 19:15 – Odeon Leicester Square

Tuesday 10 Oct, 11:30 – Odeon Leicester Square

Wednesday 11 Oct, 18:15 – Hackney Picturehouse, screen 1

Strand: MAYOR’S GALA (132 mins)

From the director of I Am Love and A Bigger Splash comes the adaptation of André Aciman’s coming-of-age novel Call Me By Your Name. It’s the summer of 1983, and precocious 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) is spending the days with his family at their 17th-century villa in Lombardy, Italy. He soon meets Oliver (Armie Hammer), a handsome doctoral student who is working as an intern for Elio’s father. Amid the sun-drenched splendour of their surroundings, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever. The screenplay was written by James Ivory, and Sony Pictures Classics acquired the film for distribution even before it premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

Released in the UK by Sony Pictures Classics on 9 October 2017


Director: Fabio Grassadonia, Antonio Piazza

Cast: Julia Jedlikowska, Gaetano Fernandez, Corinne Musallari, Andrea Falzone, Federico Finocchiaro, Lorenzo Curcio, Vincenzo Amato, Sabine Timoteo, Filippo Luna, Dino Santoro, Gabriele Falsetta, Vincenzo Crivello, Baldassarre Tre Re, Rosario Terranova, Corrado Santoro, Nino Prester

Thursday 12 Oct, 20:40 – Haymarket, screen 1

Friday 13 Oct, 12:30 – BFI Southbank, NFT1

Strand: DARE (122 mins)

Set in a little Sicilian village at the edge of a forest, this is the story of adolescent innocence and painful reality. Giuseppe (Fernandez) is the son of a man with Mafia connections who has become an informer. One day, this 13 year-old boy vanishes, kidnapped by those his father crossed. Luna (Jedlikowska), his classmate who loves him, refuses to accept his mysterious disappearance. She and her friend Loredana (Corinne Musallari) petition the townsfolk to find him, but to no avail. Rebelling against the code of silence and collusion that surrounds her, Luna refuses to give up her search, desperate to find the boy she so bashfully loves.

Released in the UK by Altitude Film Entertainment, date TBC


Director: Jonas Carpignano

Cast: Pio Amato, Koudous Seihon, Iolanda Amato, Damiano Amato

Friday 13 Oct, 21:15 – Vue Leicester Square, screen 5

Saturday 14 Oct, 17:45 – Curzon Mayfair, screen 1

Strand: DARE (118 mins)

In A Ciambra, a small Romani community in Calabria, Pio Amato is desperate to grow up fast. At 14, he drinks, smokes and is one of the few to easily slide between the region’s factions – the local Italians, the African refugees and his fellow Romani. Pio follows his older brother Cosimo everywhere, learning the necessary skills for life on the streets of their hometown. When Cosimo disappears and things start to go wrong, Pio sets out to prove he’s ready to step into his big brother’s shoes, but soon finds himself faced with an impossible decision that will show if he is truly ready to become a man.

Released in the UK by Peccadillo Pictures on 13 October 2017

NICO, 1988

Director: Susanna Nicchiarelli

Cast: Trine Dyrholm, John Gordon Sinclair, Anamaria Marinca, Sandor Funtek, Thomas Trabacchi, Karina Fernandez, Calvin Demba

Saturday 14 Oct, 15:30 – Picturehouse Central, screen 1

Sunday 15 Oct, 15:00 – Vue Leicester Square, screen 7

Strand: CREATE (93 mins)

Approaching 50, singer-songwriter Nico leads a solitary low-key existence in Manchester, far from her 60s glam days as a Warhol superstar and celebrated vocalist for cult band The Velvet Underground. She no longer cares about her looks, or her career, but starts performing again thanks to her new manager Richard, who gives Nico the drive to hit the road and tour Europe. Struggling with her demons and the consequences of a muddled life, she longs to rebuild a relationship with her son, whose custody she lost long ago. A brave and uncompromising musician, Nico’s story is one of rebirth: of an artist, a mother, and the woman behind the icon.

A cura di Katya Marletta


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