For some Pittsburghers, every year is a year of Italian culture. But this is an actual designation for 2013 courtesy of the Italian Ministry of Culture.
To help celebrate the occasion, the University of Pittsburgh's Italian Program is collaborating with Italian Film Festival USA to bring seven recent Italian movies to Pittsburgh between now and May 3.
All films will be Pittsburgh premieres, free and shown in either Pitt's Alumni Hall Auditorium, 4227 Fifth Ave., or Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, 650 Schenley Drive. All are in Italian with English subtitles.
The series will begin tonight at 7 with "E stato il figlio" or "It Was the Son," with an introduction by distinguished professor Marcia Landy and a dessert reception afterward.
"It Was the Son," inspired by the book of the same name by a Sicilian writer, is about a family rendered inconsolable by a tragic death. But the possibility of government compensation for victims of the Mafia at first holds promise and then peril.
"It Was the Son" took two prizes at the Venice Film Festival: the Marcello Mastroianni award for best emerging young actor or actress for Fabrizio Falco and award for best technical contribution (cinematography).
Also scheduled to screen:
"Il giorno in piu" ("One Day More") -- Romantic comedy about a ladies man whose life changes when he becomes entranced by a woman he sees on the streetcar on the way to work. But with time running short, he leads with his heart. 7 p.m. April 11 at Frick Fine Arts Auditorium.
"La nave dolce" ("The Human Cargo") -- Documentary about events in August 1991 when the ship Vlora arrived at the port of Durazzo, Albania, with 10,000 tons of sugar from Cuba. While the cargo was being unloaded, thousands rushed the ship and forced the captain to sail to Italy, which then sent most back home. 7 p.m. April 18, Alumni Hall.
"Terraferma" -- (See review Page W-23) The volcanic island off southern Sicily is so tiny that it's not on the globe but fleeing North Africans come near or to the shores. A family of fishermen is caught between the laws of the sea, which demand no one be left to drown, and of man. 7 p.m. April 19, Alumni Hall.
"Romanzo di una strage" ("Piazza Fontana: The Italian Conspiracy") -- Historical drama about the 1969 explosion in a Milan bank that killed 17 and wounded 88 and appeared tied to other bombs or unexploded devices in Rome and Milan. But when an anarchist suspect dies under mysterious circumstances, the chief investigator must dig deeper. 7 p.m. April 25. Alumni Hall.
"Tormenti" ("Torment-Designed Film") -- Animated film about a love triangle that begins in fascist Rome and ends in Franco's Spain. The key players are a young laundress, an affable middle-age attorney and supporter of the Fascist regime, and a young student dedicated to boxing and the anti-Fascist cause. 7 p.m. April 26, Alumni Hall.
"L'industriale" ("The Entrepreneur") -- A 40-year-old Turin man turns to desperate, unscrupulous measures when he inherits a factory on the verge of bankruptcy. At the same time, he and his wife grow distant and he becomes suspicious, prompting him to start following her. 7 p.m. May 3, Frick Fine Arts.
The ninth annual Italian Film Festival USA is being held in a dozen cities but this is the first time Pittsburgh is part of the mix. See italianfilmfests.org/pittsburgh for more information on the films, festival sponsors and other participating cities.