Festival of Italian Cinema (June 1 to 4) Varsity and Carlton Cinemas Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
According to my random sampling, Toronto's first-ever Italian film festival is a cornucopia of films about trapped men, obsessed women, historical injustice and the romantic and professional opportunities that come with regional dislocation.
Il Maestro Degli Errori (The Master Of Errors, by Pietro Maria Benfatti, June 3, 9:30 pm, Carlton) transplants courtroom drama to 14th-century Florence, where it follows the travails of heretical Bolognese court astrologer Maestro Cecco while making debate over the finer points of Catholic doctrine seem somehow sexy.
Complex, moody types will enjoy La Spettatrice (The Spectator, by Paolo Franchi, June 2, 9:30 pm, Carlton), an original and gimlet-eyed look at a particular species of emotional torment. It presents the blind romantic compulsion of a lonely Turinese interpreter who, smitten with her neighbour, follows him to Rome and insinuates herself into his failing relationship with a widowed law professor. Wide-eyed silent suffering ensues.
And for those who prefer it fast and fluffy, Andata E Ritorno (Round Trip, by Marco Ponti, June 4, 7 pm, Carlton) is a baroquely whimsical romantic comedy that turns into a heist flick. A flight attendant stranded in a distant city becomes involved with a bike courier who's in hiding from some thugs. Lots of slapstick, a good bike chase and a colourful condemnation of Berlusconi make up for the occasional lapse in narrative discipline.