Italian Film Festival Returns to MSU after Three Years Online

After three years of online-only programming, the Italian Film Festival is making its in-person return to the MSU campus. The Italian Film Festival USA (link: is organized by a nonprofit organization based in St. Louis, working to provide the public with an opportunity to see films that have not yet or may never be seen locally, in order to raise awareness and educate the public about Italy –its land, people, culture, and language. The Italian Film Festival USA is the largest festival dedicated exclusively to Italian film in the USA and is present in 14 cities from coast to coast.

Italian professor Carmen De Lorenzo, coordinator of the Italian program in the Department of Romance and Classical Studies at MSU, and a member of the Film Festival Committee, brings the festival to our campus for a third year. Organization and publicity are made possible by the student volunteers of the MSU Italian Club and Italian program colleagues, professors Valentina Denzel and Jessica Toby. The festival is co-sponsored by the Department of Romance and Classical Studies, The Michigan Arts and Culture Council, The Istituto di Cultura Chicago, The Dante Alighieri Society Michigan Chapter, and The Italian Consulate in Detroit.

The festival brings students, faculty and local community members to Wells Hall every year during the month of April –this year films will be screened in Wells Hall room B122. The Festival complements the Latinx Film Festival and the MSU Albertine Cinémathèque French Film Festival offered by the Department of Romance and Classical Studies.

The 2023 festival edition brings to our campus the best line-up of a variety of four recent feature films. Filmgoers will enjoy a comedy, a thriller, a documentary, and short films. The screenings include movies from award-winning directors as well as debut films from exciting new talent. This is your chance to see the latest and best Italian films. All movies are free and open to the public.

See the festival schedule below.

Paradise: Una Nuova Vita (Paradise) (2019)

Friday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m.
After having witnessed an organized crime murder in Sicily, Calogero is placed in a witness protection program. With a new identity, he is sent as far away as possible—to Sauris, a tiny village nestled in the northeastern Italian Alps. Snow and weird local customs, such as the Schuhplattler folk dancing, are not for him. However, he is not the only one who has started a new life: someone else just moved to Sauris. Calogero believes he is there to kill him, but misunderstandings lead to friendship and even more. 

Short Films

Saturday, April 15, 5:00 p.m.

  • L’Allaccio (The Connection) (2022)
    Rome, 1946. A young technician receives a strange order to install a telephone in the Verano cemetery. Director Roberto Rossellini is asking for the connection; he needs the phone to complete the film Germany, Year Zero without leaving the grave of his son Romano, who died tragically at the age of nine.
  • Caramelle (Sweets) (2022)
    Lucia is a middle-aged woman who occasionally visits her father’s grave in the local cemetery. One day, she finds a candy wrapper on the tomb. It’s a curious event that will happen again and again…
  • Mammaranca (2022)
    Giovanni and Michele are eleven and nine years old and they live in Sant’Elia, a working class neighborhood on the outskirts of Cagliari. The lives of the two children suddenly seem to change when a scratch card ends up in their hands.
  • Story of Your Life (2022)
    The story of the life of a man, from birth to age 80, in a few minutes.
  • Briciole (Crumbs) (2022)
    Alfredo is a policeman whose wife is expecting their fourth child. Work and life problems are crushing him.
  • Tana Libera tutti (Olly, Olly, Oxen Free) (2022)
    Alì is a 10-year-old Afghan boy who lives in a tent city in Greece. He spends most of the time with his friends and “housemates” and every day he tries in vain to illegally board the ferry bound for Italy. In his last attempt, though, following his friend’s advice, Alì decides to hide inside a camper. In this way, he finds himself face to face with Claudio, an Italian boy of the same age, who’s leaving the island with his family and camper after spending summer vacation at a camping site not far from the tent city.

Il Testimone Invisibile (The Invisible Witness) (2018)

Saturday, April 15, 7:30 p.m.
Adriano wakes up in a hotel room next to the dead body of his lover, Laura. The door is locked from the inside and there is no evidence of anybody else in the room. Despite his claims of innocence, Adriano is charged with murder and chooses Virginia Ferrara, a veteran criminal attorney who has never lost a trial, to decide the defensive strategy. The two only have three hours to prepare the case and find the key evidence confirming his innocence. With no alternative, Adriano is forced to tell the full truth to the lawyer.

Gli Innocenti di Firenze (The Innocents of Florence) (2019)

Sunday, April 16, 5:00 p.m.
It’s 1410 and there is a huge social problem in Florence: babies are abandoned and dying at an alarming rate. To solve the problem, Florence’s humanists build a hospital for babies to assist young mothers and commission a painting to act as the poster for the new institute: The Madonna of the Innocents attributed to Domenico di Michelino. 600 years later, the very same painting sits in a museum within the original building. Two women are tasked with the restoration of the work and, as they work meticulously, new mysteries about its origins are discovered.