Well, after the summer hiatus, a few new Italian films are emerging onto the screen this week, by far the most interesting of which is Franco Gasperoni’s Smile, which has been doing decent business despite being shown on only a moderate number of screens (141, as opposed to the 240 showing the latest Harry Potter film).

Italian poster for Franco Gasperoni's SMILE
Italian poster for Franco Gasperoni's SMILE

It’s a horror film, which is unusual enough – generallly the only horror films that get a proper release are done by established names, whereas director Franco Gasperoni is making his debut.  And the reviews haven’t been too unfavourable.  Anyway, the plot goes something like this (according to IMDB):

Several students on a school holiday discover a mysterious camera, but after several of them start showing up dead after having their picture taken, they start to realize this camera is much more than they bargained for. In looking at the photos that have been taken of everyone, they find that the deaths correlate to the image. As time runs out, they must piece together the puzzle before they become the next victims.

Sounds a bit like a cross between Shutter and The Final Destination, and it’s nice to see any Italian popular films that have the potential for export (what’s the betting this never gets an international release and the Italian DVD release doesn’t have any English subs…)  The cast includes experienced US actor Armand Assante and a bunch of people I’ve never heard of.

The other main Italian release of the week is the football drama Piede di dio, directed by another debutant, Luigi Sardiello.  Again, according to IMDB:

Elia has a talent. He has never missed a penalty. He has a magic foot… Very few people play football like he does. Elia’s got a problem, though. He is 18 years old but he acts like a 12 year old: his father had left him and his mother when he was that age, to go back to Rome and work as a manager. Michele’s got a problem. When he was young he had an accident and had to give up the dream of becoming a football player. Now he works for local football teams looking for new talents: he goes around, lives high, wheeling and dealing, lying to himself and the others. However Michele has a talent too: he is able to recognize a champion. During one of his trips to the South of Italy, Michele meets Elia by chance on the beach, and he is struck by his talent. Cynically, the boy is the solution to all his problems. Thanks to his persuasive skills, he talks to his mother and become the manager of the boy. So, the odd couple starts a journey of hope through the big city and the football world, with its arrogant agents and all-powerful managers. One day, at last, there is the trial match to enter a great football team…

Can’t see that this has much potential to make a dent in the international market but, hey, at least it’s noce to see some new productions hitting the cinemas again!

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