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  • Writer's pictureTeam Acacia

Italian Cinema Takes Center Stage at Chicago International Film Festival

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

55th Annual Festival Celebrates Italian Cinema with Seven Featured Titles, Filmmaker Appearances, Consular Reception

CHICAGO, Illinois -- The 55th Chicago International Film Festival, October 16-27, celebrates Italian cinema this year with In Focus: Italy. The special program will screen a diverse slate of seven films, filmmakers will participate in audience discussions, and a reception will be held to celebrate the country’s contributions to world cinema and highlight the seven titles featured in this year’s Festival. BANGLA, MATERNAL, THE MAYOR OF RIONE SANITA, and VIVERE will each be making their North American premieres at the Festival, and SOLE will hold its U.S. premiere. As part of this year’s celebration of Italian cinema, directors Phaim Bhuiyan (BANGLA), Maura Delpero (MATERNAL), and Carlo Sironi (SOLE) will participate in audience Q&A sessions following screenings of their films. On October 23, the Consulate General of Italy and the Instituto Italiano di Cultura will host a reception at the Italian Cultural Institute in honor of the films contributed to this year’s Festival. Tickets to the In Focus: Italy presentations during the 55th Chicago International Film Festival can be purchased online at, or at the Festival box office at AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois St., Chicago). The program is produced in partnership with the Consulate General of Italy and the Instituto Italiano di Cultura Chicago.

ABOUT THE IN FOCUS: ITALY FILMS All screenings will be held at AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St.

BANGLA **North American Premiere** Director: Phaim Bhuiyan In this winning semi-autobiographical romantic comedy, filmmaker Phaim Bhuiyan plays Phaim, an awkwardly charming 22-year-old Muslim musician of Bangladeshi origins. While living with his family in Rome’s diverse Torpignattara neighborhood, he falls for Asia, a spirited, impulsive Italian girl he meets at a gig. How can Phaim find a way to reconcile his desire for her with his religion’s prohibition against sex outside of marriage? Tuesday, October 22 @ 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, October 23 @ 6:00 p.m.

MATERNAL (HOGAR) **North American Premiere** Director: Maura Delpero The lives of three young women intersect in unexpected ways in this sensitive, insightful drama about motherhood and desire. Novitiate Sister Paola, preparing to take her final vows, works at a Buenos Aires shelter for teen mothers. Rebellious young mother Lu desires only freedom and escape, while Fatima, pregnant with her second child, finds solace within the walls of the institution. When Paola forms a deep attachment to an abandoned infant, she must confront troubling doubts about her true vocation. Wednesday, October 23 @ 5:45 p.m. Thursday, October 24 @ 12:30 p.m. Friday, October 25 @ 6:00 p.m.

THE MAYOR OF RIONE SANITA (IL SINDACO DEL RIONE SANITA) **North American Premiere** Director: Mario Martone In this Neapolitan crime drama—a modern-day adaptation of playwright Eduardo De Filippo’s classic—Antonio Barracano is a “man of honor” who rules over the neighborhood of Rione Sanità exerting influence and muscle. When Rafiluccio comes to the “mayor” requesting his blessing to kill his own father, Don Antonio must reconsider his stance on retribution. Laying bare its theatrical origins, this riveting mafia tale imagines a way out of the endless cycle of vengeance and violence. Tuesday, October 22 @ 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 23 @ 8:15 p.m. Thursday, October 24 @ 1:00 p.m.

SOLE **U.S. Premiere** Director: Carlo Sironi In this tender, melancholy tale of desperation and desire, pregnant Polish teen Lena has traveled to Italy to sell her baby to racketeer Fabio. Dodging anti-surrogacy regulations, Fabio pays nephew Ermanno to watch over Lena while posing as the child’s father, who will “ask” relatives to adopt the newborn. But Ermanno begins to shed his tough veneer as he develops feelings for the girl and child. Beautifully rendered in cool shades of blue, this accidental love story tracks two lost souls facing impossible choices. Thursday, October 17 @ 8:30 p.m. Friday, October 18 @ 8:00 p.m. Thursday, October 24 @ 3:45 p.m.

THE TRAITOR (IL TRADITORE) Director: Marco Bellocchio The traitor tells the true story of Tommaso Buscetta, the man who brought down the Cosa Nostra. In the early 1980s, an all-out war rages between Sicilian mafia bosses over the heroin trade. Tommaso Buscetta, a made man, flees to hide out in Brazil. Back home, scores are being settled, and Buscetta watches from afar as his sons and brother are killed in Palermo, knowing he may be next. Arrested and extradited to Italy by the Brazilian police, Buscetta makes a decision that will change everything for the Mafia: He decides to meet with Judge Giovanni Falcone and betray the eternal vow he made to the Cosa Nostra. Tuesday, October 22 @ 8:30 p.m.

THE TWO POPES Director: Fernando Meirelles From Fernando Meirelles, the Academy Award®-nominated director of City of God, and three-time Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter Anthony McCarten, comes an intimate story of one of the most dramatic transitions of power in the last 2,000 years. Frustrated with the direction of the church, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) requests permission to retire in 2012 from Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins). Behind Vatican walls, a struggle commences between both tradition and progress, guilt and forgiveness, as these two very different men confront elements from their pasts in order to find common ground and forge a future for a billion followers around the world. Saturday, October 26 @ 5:15 p.m.

VIVERE **North American Premiere** Director: Francesca Archibugi In this tangled and tantalizing Roman comedy, chaos rules the home of dance teacher Susi and her husband, freelance journalist Luca. When pious Irish art history student Mary Ann arrives to work as their young daughter’s au pair, her luminous presence proves a godsend to Susi—but an unsettling distraction to a suddenly lovestruck Luca. As Luca’s 17-year-old son also falls for the alluring lass, each must decide what it means to truly live. Thursday, October 24 @ 6:00 p.m. Saturday, October 26 @ 2:30 p.m.

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