'A little comic relief': NM Italian Film & Culture Festival bounces back from pandemic with 'laugh-out-loud' movies - Albuquerque Journal

‘A little comic relief’: NM Italian Film & Culture Festival bounces back from pandemic with ‘laugh-out-loud’ movies

A scene from “Put Grandma in the Freezer.”

Food, wine, music and movies.

That’s what the 2021 edition of the New Mexico Italian Film & Culture Festival brings to the table.

The festival runs from Tuesday, Oct. 12, through Oct. 17.

“We’re trying something new to adjust to the world today,” says Maria Berry, managing director of the Italian Film & Culture Festival. “We started planning for the festival later than usual, and we’ve never had it in October. It will be something different, yet something that is much-needed.”

Berry says the 13th edition of New Mexico’s largest, longest-running celebration of Italian cinema and culture will feature critically acclaimed dramas, laugh-out-loud comedies, and a special showcase film of significant social and historical importance.

The 2021 program also includes the festival’s classic closing food-wine-live music event, hosted by the festival’s title sponsor, Nick & Jimmy’s Restaurant.

Berry says the film lineup leans toward comedy.

“Four of the seven films are funny films,” she says. “We thought it was fate. After the year the world has had, it was a good time to have a little comic relief.”

The festival begins with the National Dance Institute-New Mexico dancers performing at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, at the Hiland Theater. The opening night film is “Criminali a domicilio/Bob and Marys,” a lighthearted comedy.

The next night features “Metti la nonna in freezer/Put Grandma in the Freezer.”

“The festival continues on Thursday with the mystery thriller, ‘Una storia senza nome/The Stolen Caravaggio,’ and on Friday with ’10 giorni senza mamma/When Mom Is Away,’ which was Italy’s hilarious box office hit in 2019.”

Berry says an NDI live dance performance precedes the Friday evening film at 6:45.

The festival’s showcase film, “Gli Innocenti/The Innocents of Florence,” will screen at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16.

“This is a documentary that tells the little-known story of the forgotten children of Florence and the women who saved them with the establishment of Europe’s first children’s hospital and orphanage in 1445,” Berry says.

The spy comedy “Ma cosa ci dice il cervello/Don’t Stop Me Now” will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16.

The festival closes on Oct. 17 with “Quanto Basta/As Needed” at 3 p.m. A dinner at Nick & Jimmy’s will also feature music.

“Of course, the festival has a food element to it,” Berry says. “We couldn’t do as many dinners as we’ve done in previous years. This year, we’re slowly rolling it out and making sure that people are spaced out.”

The festival is a fundraising benefit for the children at NDI New Mexico.

“We’re passionate about celebrating Italian cinema and culture in New Mexico and proud to have raised nearly $350,000 for children’s causes through our festivals,” says Dan Puccetti, festival director.


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