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Laughter and Tears at Moscow’s Italian Film Festival

La Macchinazione (2016) La Macchinazione (2016)

The third edition of the Italian-Russian Film Festival (RIFF) arrived in town yesterday. The 13-day event features the screening of 25 Italian movies, all of them premiering in Russian for the first time. 

“The festival has made great strides forward since previous editions: from the number of films we are screening to our special guests and the quality of the films themselves,” said Irina Burkeeva, the organizer of the festival, in an interview with The Moscow Times.

From comedies to dramas, short films and documentaries the festival brings a little slice of the mediterranean to central Moscow. The 2016 edition includes Q&As with actors and film makers such as Giorgio Amato, David Grieco, Gianclaudio Cappai and Silvia Scola,. The daughter of Ettore Scola,  Silvia will present a special program in  memory of the Italian director. 

“Our goal is to grow and develop, proposing something new and more interesting every time we run the event,” said Bukreeva. “This year we have introduced a new format with seminars taking place before screenings so that viewers can watch the films in a more informed way.” 

From blockbusters to independent film, there’s something for every film-lover to enjoy over the coming days. And the fun isn’t limited to Moscow: after its stint in Russia’s capital the festival will continue in 15 other Russian cities.

All films will be screened in Italian with Russian subtitles. Films will be screened through November 13 at Karo Oktyabr. 24 Ulitsa Novy Arbat. Metro Arbatskaya. 

Program Highlights

Perfect Strangers

How many couples would break up if one of them were to take a look at the other’s cell? This is the premise behind “Perfetti Sconosciuti” (perfect strangers) which follows the story of a group of lifelong friends who meet up for dinner and find themselves engaged in an unexpected game. With  a cast including Marco Giallini, Edoardo Leo, Valerio Mastandrea and Kasia Smutniak, the film reveals the gap between our reality and how we behave in the virtual world. "Perfect Strangers" won the last David di Donatello Award, grossed more than $18 million in Italy and opened the RIFF Festival last night.

November 1 at 7 p.m. 

The Last One Would be the Last One

“Gli ultimi saranno gli ultimi” (the last one would be the last one) tells the story of Luciana, a woman who dreams of her future life with her husband Stefano and the first child she is expecting. The film, directed by Massimiliano Bruno and released in November 2015, perfectly sums up the fear about building a family in the modern world, with financial and emotional strains. Between laughs, lies and misunderstandings, the two main characters, played by Paola Cortellesi and Alessandro Gassmann, beautifully express the tightrope walk of life as a young couple.

November 3 at 9 p.m. 

November 7 at 7 p.m. 

Laughing and Joking

Paola and Silvia Scola have brought this biographical portrait of their father, Ettore Scola, to Moscow. “Ridendo e Scherzando” (laughing and joking) is the product of archival material, film clips and backstage shots as well as photographs, drawings and an interview conducted by the Italian comic and actor Pierfrancesco Diliberto. The film won best documentary at the “Nastro d’Argento Speciale” awards this year.

November 6 at 2:30 p.m.

The Minister

Giorgio Amato’s comedy, “Il Ministro” (the minister) is a no holds barred social satire about corruption and political power. The protagonist Franco, played by Gianmarco Tognazzi — the son of the famous actor Ugo Tognazzi — is an entrepreneur facing bankruptcy. In order to save his company Franco decides to ask for help from an Italian minister. Winner of the “Raf Vallone Award” for the best film of the year, The Minister will be introduced at the festival by its director Giorgio Amato.

November 10 at 7 p.m.


In the summer of 1975, poet and writer Pier Paolo Pasolini was editing the most controversial film of his career, “Salò” (“the 120 days of Sodom”) and writing “Petrolio” (“Oil”) a work denouncing various political figures. In November of that year he was assassinated, but after more than 40 years the case is still not closed. “La Macchinazione” (“scheming”), retraces the last three months of life of Pasolini. Film maker David Grieco, a guest at the festival, suggests that Pasolini was murdered for his outspoken criticism of powerful figures.  

November 12 at 7:30 p.m.

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