The Italian Cultural Institute in New Delhi is celebrating the cinematic oeuvre of Paolo Virzi, the contemporary Italian director known for comedies which also serve as critiques of society. Four films will be screened over the course of this month, with each film being screened twice.
Virzi’s cinema epitomizes a peculiarly “Italian style” of comedy and he employs the talents of his regular writing partner, Francesco Bruni, and some of the best Italian actors.
My Name is Tanino
The retrospective, which opens on Wednesday with the 1999 film Kisses and Hugs, will also provide an insight into the contemporary Italian film landscape. The inaugural film, a comedy of errors replete with disparate people with the same names stumbling into each others’ lives, chronicles the story of three workers who, having lost their jobs, decide to open an ostrich ranch. When Renato, the leader of the ranchers, tries to impress a local councillor into helping them keep the business afloat, his plans are thwarted by the sudden appearance of a namesake.
My Name is Tanino, the second film, has a 20-year-old Sicilian following an American woman to her country in the hope of both winning her over and chasing an American dream. Life surprises him at every turn.
The third film to be screened, Caterina in the Big City, can really be termed a fitting follow-up to Tanino’s journeys. Caterina, a young girl, suddenly finds herself transplanted from her beloved village to Rome. Her new school is populated by the offspring of the rich and the famous, leaving her feeling even more alienated.
The First Beautiful Thing will be the last film to be screened during the retrospective. Steeped in nostalgia, it is the story of a man who returns to his childhood town, and a childhood scarred by a singular memory—of his mother being declared Miss Mamma of the local bathhouse. The visit sees him navigating the labyrinths of his memory in an attempt to come to terms with the past.
The retrospective on Paolo Virzi is on from 4-28 May at the Italian Cultural institute, New Delhi.
Kisses and Hugs, 4 May, 6.30pm; 7 May, 2pm
My Name is Tanino, 11 May, 6.30pm; 14 May, 2pm
Caterina in the Big City, 18 May, 6.30pm; 21 May, 2pm
The First Beautiful Thing, 25 May, 6.30pm; 28 May, 2pm