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Free film festival at Fé Bland Forum promotes Italian culture

BRANDON DAVIS, Channels Staff

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Global studies major Lorenzo Marchetti is a man of many hats here on campus, serving as president of 2020 A Year Without War, co-president of the honors program, co-commissioner of marketing on the Student Senate and Italian Club president.

Most of all, he is Italian.

“Let’s promote what I am [100 percent Italian],” Marchetti said. “Let’s promote this culture that people only hear about,” Marchetti said.

Italians like Marchetti will have a chance to promote their culture in the 2017 Cinema Italiano Classico film festival, which will have screenings on March 11, 18 and 25. The festival is hosted by the nonprofit organization Italian Cultural Heritage Foundation of Santa Barbara and will be at the Fé Bland Forum.

Marchetti said how meaningful this year’s Classico would be in terms of the Italian heritage and the Italian people.

The film “Amarcord” (1973), which won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film will screen on March 11. Director Federico Fellini spearheaded this rated R dark comedy that takes place in a small city nestled on the coast of Northern Italy during the late 1930s.

While familiarizing themselves in a new city, the cast battles with unfamiliar social norms influenced by Catholicism and the leader of the National Fascist Party, Benito Mussolini.

“This Classico is about old movies,” Marchetti said. “It is important because some of the films being shown are of older Italian heritage and have changed the way we look at cinema.”

The film “La Notte Di San Lorenzo” or “The Night of the San Lorenzo” (1982) will screen on March 18. In Italian folklore, the Night of the San Lorenzo refers to the night of the shooting stars and is considered the night when dreams come true. The film depicts Italians in the year 1944 departing their small town after hearing rumors of a Nazi attack and a possible American liberation.

Italian instructor Angela Ellis is a board member of the Italian Cultural Heritage Foundation of Santa Barbara. Ellis and Marchetti have been working throughout the year to organize Italian activities for the Italian Club and beyond.

“I am a part of the board of 15 people and we all chip in,” Ellis said. “For instance, I will be working at the door Saturday, handing out flyers and programs.”

Ellis encourages her Italian language students to attend the free film festival by offering extra credit opportunities.

“The movies are great!” Ellis said. “The movies are classics, they’re one of a kind.”

Undeclared major Victoria Cervantes is enrolled in professor Ellis’s Italian 102 course but will not be in attendance at this year’s Italiano Classico.

“I cannot make this year’s festival due to work, however I did hear about the great turnout at last year’s festival,” Cervantes said.

The final film will show on March 25 and is titled “Il Giardino Dei Finzi-Contini” or “The Garden of Finzi-Contini” (1970). Director Vittorio De Sica is the mastermind behind this rated R drama, romance and war film that takes place during the uprising of World War II.

De Sica depicts the story of a noble Jewish family, the Finzi-Contini, who try to maintain its traditional lifestyle inside of an upscale home while Mussolini imprisons Jews just outside.

The festival, which will be at the Fé Bland Forum at 721 Cliff Drive on West Campus, is free of charge and open to the public. There will also be English subtitles for films.

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Free film festival at Fé Bland Forum promotes Italian culture