The Traitor. Publicity photo

MittelCinemaFest showcases new Italian films in Prague starting this week

Recent Italian dramas and comedies plus a concert are at a festival in Prague's Lucerna cinema

Recent Italian films will presented in the seventh MittelCinemaFest at Prague’s Lucerna cinema from November 28 to December 4. Films will have English and Czech subtitles.

The festival will also include a concert of music from Fellini films. Some of the films will also show in Brno and Ostrava.

“MittelCinemaFest 2019 offers both world-renowned and emerging directors of comedies and drama films that will carry viewers into the immersive experience of contemporary Italian cinema as a mirror of Italy today,” Ambassador Francesco Saverio Nisio said.

The concert, held December 3 at Lucerna, will mark the 100th birthday of director Federico Fellini and feature music by composers Nino Rota, Nicola Piovani and Luis Bakalov.

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Conductor Walter Attanasi will lead the PKO – Prague Chamber Orchestra. Tickets for the concert are available at the Lucerna cinema box office and Ticketmaster.

The festival starts with As Needed (Quanto basta / S chutí Toskánska). A young man with a form of autism wants to enter a cooking contest and gets help from top chef, who has been ordered to do social work.

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The festival includes seven other films that have been in international film festivals. People with special needs are the topic again in Dafne (Dafne). A young woman with Down syndrome has to look after not only herself but her father after tragedy strikes. The film was a popular hit the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

Two films look at organized crime — The Traitor (Il traditore / První zrádce) and The Mayor of Rione Sanità (Il sindaco del Rione Sanità / Starosta z rione Sanità).

The true story of Tommaso Buscetta is told by top director Marco Bellocchio in The Traitor. In the 1980s, gang war raged over heroin traffic. Buscetta and his family are caught in the cross hairs. The film competed that the Cannes Film Festival and has been nominated for multiple awards.

A 1960 play concerning a tough neighborhood in Naples, The Mayor of Rione Sanità has been updated. The “mayor” of the title settles local disputes but finds himself caught up in his own moral dilemma. The film premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, where it received an eight-minute standing ovation.

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Romantic troubles provide the backdrop to You Can’t Kiss the Bride (Compromessi sposi / Svatba (ne)bude!), Bangla (Bangla), and Ordinary Happiness (Momenti di trascurabile felicità / Chvíle obyčejného štěstí), while male bonding is at the core of The Champion (Il campione / Šampión).

You Can’t Kiss the Bride finds two prospective fathers-in-law agreeing on one thing: the upcoming wedding of their children, a fashion blogger and a hopeful songwriter, must be stopped.

Cultures clash when a young Bangladeshi musician living in Rome meets a quixotic woman at a concert. The man, however, tries to follow the traditional values of waiting for the wedding night. Phaim Bhuiyan directed and stars in Bangla.

A supernatural mix up gives a man a second chance after a fatal accident, but just a brief one. The comedy Ordinary Happiness (Momenti di trascurabile felicità / Chvíle obyčejného štěstí) has the main character having to make the most of small moments with loved ones until his new time runs out. It is based on the writings of Francesco Piccolo.

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Temper gets the best of a football player in The Champion, until a tutor with a mellow disposition is assigned to help him face his demons and pass his school exams.

You can find out more about the festival at the Lucerna and Mittel festival websites.

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