If it’s mid-May, in the movie world at least, then it must be Cannes: the exhausting, exhilarating 12 days during which assorted actors, directors, producers, distributors, deal–makers and journos (over 4,000 of the latter) descend upon the beautiful Cote d’Azur town for another round of world premieres, press conferences, parties and heavy duty schmoozing. This Olympics of Film Festivals, once memorably described by Roger Ebert as “a glorious ceremony of avarice, lust, ego, and occasional inspiration and genius,” is now 68 years old, but its prestige, allure and all round cachet seem undiminished.
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Now in its 13th year, London’s Polish Film Festival, Kinoteka, returns to the capital at a moment when international interest in Polish cinema is particularly high, thanks mainly to the critical and commercial success of Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida, which was honoured first at Gdynia Film Festival back in 2013, then at TIFF and elsewhere, before its recent wins at this year’s BAFTA and Academy Award ceremonies.
Even before Enrico (Toni Servillo) leaves his post, it’s clear he’s going to. As the opposition party leader in Italy, he’s taking the brunt of the plummeting approval ratings heading into the national election, and it’s getting to him.
Just as he approaches the period of the biggest speeches of the year, he disappears. A note left behind explains that he’ll be gone for a few days – no reason is given.
With 90-minutes of runtime, most filmmakers will pick one or two things and try to perfect them. Director Pierfrancesco Diliberto (better known as Pif) orders the whole menu, post-dinner stomachache be damned.
A newly broke mom turns to the world’s oldest profession to repay her deceased husband’s debts in this light-hearted story of a damsel in a tiny black dress.
At 33, the last thing Alice (Paola Cortellesi) thought she’d be doing is moving her nine-year-old son out of their beautiful Roman villa and into the ramshackle “roof pad” of an apartment block in a multiethnic slum. Tasked with recouping thousands in owed debts, she contacts a friend working as an escort (Anna Foglietta) and asks for her help to break into the very lucrative business.