Italian film festival comes to St Andrews

Thursday 26 March 2009

A little bit of Italy will arrive in St Andrews this May when the town plays host to its first ever Italian Film Festival.

The special event will see Italian film goddess Alida Valli, Orson Wells and Scottish actor Douglas Henshall take to the cinema screens of St Andrews in a new event organised by the University’s Centre for Film Studies.

The festival programme will provide a unique opportunity for fans of both cinema and all things Italian, with a series of film screenings and special events around town.

The Festival (1-3 May 2009) is backed by Fife Council and will involve the screening of five films over the course of three days.

In addition to a range of award winning Italian films, the screenings will also include British classic The Third Man.  The Oscar winning title is being shown in honour of the Italian actress Alida Valli, once described as `the most beautiful leading lady in film history, after Greta Garbo.’  Valli plays the girlfriend of Orson Wells in the Graham Greene thriller.

The festival opens with Her Whole Life Ahead, a 2008 comedy by Paolo Virzì that deals with the trials and tribulations of young twenty-somethings entering the world of corporate work for the first time.

It is followed by The Girl by the Lake, a thriller from first-time director Andrea Molaioli.  The film won ten Davide di Donatello awards (Italian `Oscars’), including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actor for Toni Servillo, who starred in the recent Italian hits Gomorrah, Il Divo, and Consequences of Love.

Flying Lessons, from female director Francesca Archibugi, explores the lives of two Italian teenagers who go in search of their roots after failing their school exams.

Their journey of self-discovery – one of the boys is an adopted Indian seeking his real parents; the other comes to understand his Jewish roots – takes in Italy, India and Scotland, with Scottish actor Douglas Henshall (Primeval, The Strange Case of Sherlock Holmes & Arthur Conan Doyle) taking a prominent role in the film.

The festival will close with a screening A Perfect Day, the latest film by renowned Italian-Turkish director Ferzan Özpetek.  Taking place over the course of 24 hours, and based on Melania Mazzucco’s popular novel, A Perfect Day is a serious but hopeful look at domestic violence in contemporary Rome.

Screenings of the films, which are open to the public, will be accompanied by introductions and talks from specialists in Italian cinema and culture.

Organiser Dr William Brown, a lecturer in Film Studies, said, “We are excited to have St Andrews involved in the Italian Film Festival UK.  It offers St Andrews – and Fife more generally – a great opportunity to learn about our Italian cousins, and the Centre for Film Studies is delighted to support this venture, especially with the support of Fife Council.”

The Italian Film Festival is part of a nationwide, touring festival that takes in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Dublin, Manchester, Dundee, Inverness, and now, for the first time, St Andrews.

The nationwide event is organised by the Italian Film Festival UK, in conjunction with the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Edinburgh, and with support from Scottish Screen and the National Lottery.  The first ever St Andrews leg of the event is additionally supported by the University’s Centre for Film Studies and by Fife Council.

The festival is open to the public and all are welcome.

The screenings will all take place at the New Picture House Cinema on North Street, St Andrews, and tickets can be reserved online:, or by calling (01334) 473509.

For further information of the Centre for Film Studies, visit:




The full programme of films is as follows:

–        Friday 1 May 6pm Her Whole Life Ahead (Paolo Virzì, Italy, 2008) (15) (117 mins) Comedy about entering the corporate world.

–        Saturday 2 May 2pm The Girl by the Lake (Andrea Molaioli, Italy, 2007) (15) (95 mins) Multiple award-winning thriller.

–        Saturday 2 May 6pm Flying Lessons (Francesca Archibugi, Italy/France/India, 2007) (15) (100 mins) Drama set across Italy, India and Scotland.

–        Sunday 3 May 2pm The Third Man (Carol Reed, UK, 1949) (12A) (104 mins) Oscar-winning classic starring Italian leading lady, Alida Valli.

–        Sunday 3 May 6pm A Perfect Day (Ferzan Özpetek, Italy, 2008) (15) (101 mins) Drama from on of Europe’s leading directors about domestic violence in contemporary Rome.


Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Gayle Cook, Senior Press Officer on 01334 467227 / 462529, mobile 07900 050 103, or email [email protected]

Ref: Italian film festival 260309
View the latest University press releases at

Category University news

Related topics

Share this story