I went to see "Lezioni Di Cioccolato" last night as part of the Italian Film Festival in Atlanta, and as I should have expected, it was a profound disappointment.
Unfortunately Friday night was the only night I could attend -- likely a common scenario for many busy Atlanta residents the annual film fest might want to otherwise attract.
But I don't even know why you would bother projecting the film outside of Italy.
It was your typical stupid romantic comedy. Note, Italians know how to make good romantic comedies. Why not show those? Why not find the latest version of something like Pieraccioni's "I Laureati"?
I think people expect more from a foreign film festival than an Adam Sandler-level comedy (and I don't mean "The Wedding Singer"; he's stopped making movies as good as that). This one didn't even feature Italian film stars of that magnitude!
Regrettably, I worry it's a trend. Last year, I wound up going to see "Gli Immaturi," another film in this vein of forgettable, poorly-executed romantic comedies. I believe they showed it twice!
In past years, they've shown serious films such as "Il papà di Giovanna" with the accomplished Italian actor, Silvio Orlandi.
Why hasn't the film festival shown a movie like "La Doppia Ora"? I had to go see it on my own when it came to Atlanta, but I'm sure even many Italophiles missed it and it could have made a nice addition to the film festival any of the past years (since the festival doesn't seem to showcase the latest releases, something that also seems surprising).
I so want to patronize Italian culture here in Atlanta, and I've been a big supporter of the film festival. But I'm really disappointed with the trend of uninspiring films that seem to take center stage at this festival.
And I think from a marketing standpoint, it makes no sense. You'll get the serious cinema-goer if you show important films. You'll get the casual movie consumer if you show broad blockbuster comedies.
But you won't get anyone if instead you show lackluster films like "Lezioni Di Cioccolato."
I should probably add a personal note: I so look forward to the film festival each year! I want to see Italian cinema, I want to practice my Italian, I want to exercise the 'Italian part' of my brain! I want to catch up on where the Italian film industry is headed, etc.
And now that I'm a mom, I was thrilled to see the festival fell during a week when my daycare offers a Parents Night Out babysitting option. I felt like it was fate! But I essentially wasted a night of babysitting, a night out with my partner, a night of freedom on something so disappointing.
Thank God for the Standard in Grant Park, which gave me a glass of wine to enjoy on the patio with the brilliant late afternoon sun, and Miso, which as always provided a wonderful meal of sushi and izakaya specialties for dinner!