The 21st edition of the “Italian Film Focus in Southern Africa 2021” online event kicks off in South Africa. The festival will take place from the 3rd to the 16th of December 2021 and will be presented by the association of cinematographers Controluce, the Embassy of Italy in Pretoria – along with the Italian Cultural Institute -, the General Consulate of Italy in Johannesburg, the Consulate of Italy in Cape Town and the Embassy of Italy in Zimbabwe.

The trailer of the Festival kicking off in South Africa

The festival will be held on the online platform Mymovies, which will be geolocated for South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. 

South Africa was chosen in 1958 by the company that was responsible for the distribution of Italian films abroad, as the first stage for the premiere of this festival. This decision was symbolic, as it marked the beginning of an important and long-lasting collaboration, which also greatly improved diplomatic relations and international cooperation between the two countries. 

The 1958 edition was documented in a video format by the production company Incom in its newsreel “The Incom Week“, which was regularly distributed in cinemas. This short film, still available today in the archive of Istituto Luce, is a perfect summary of the pride that the Italian delegation was experiencing at that time and the beauties of the African continent.  

Italian Ambassador to South Africa, Paolo Cuculi
Italian Ambassador to South Africa, Paolo Cuculi

In fact, the video shown to the Italian public includes not only the images of the delegation visiting the country, but also landscapes and scenes never seen until that time, such as herds of wildebeests grazing in the savannah and scenes of a folk show, where dancers – dressed as warriors – simulated a clash during the dance. 

These images show that the festival was not only a purely advertising move, but a real opportunity for cultural exchange, for everyone. For this reason, the event has been repeated annually until today. Over the years, the best Italian films have been presented to the African public, experiencing great interest and appreciation.

This year’s program will begin on the 3rd of December, with an opening presentation made by the president of Controluce – Antonio Falduto – and Fabio Ferzetti, film critic of Italian magazine “L’Espresso”. The introduction will be followed by “Qui rido io” by Mario Martone, symbol of the Neapolitan theater. 

nanni moretti, south africa, italian film festival

Then, in a chronological order, it will be the turn of: “Tre piani” – by Nanni Moretti – film inspired to a novel written by  Israeli writer Eshkol Nevo and “Ariaferma“, by Leonardo di Costanzo. Worthy of note are also “Come un gatto in tangenziale – Ritorno a Coccia di Morto” by Riccardo Milani and “Lei mi parla ancora” by Pupi Avati.

The program includes 11 films, belonging to different genres, but with a common goal: that of presenting and, even more, representing Italy.