50 days of cinema

International film festival in Florence

Rose Mackworth-Young
October 24, 2013

A world of film comes to Florence each autumn, with hundreds of movies, shorts and documentaries from around the globe during the 50 Days of International Cinema festival. Most of the films are either in English or with English subtitles, so forget fresh air and exercise as the cold nights draw in—staying indoors and staring at the big screen has never been so rewarding. Sitting comfortably? Let the show begin!



Prevention of violence against women is the theme of this year’s festival, which will see a focus on the importance of respect for women, and spotlight films that bring out the positive and crucial role of women in society.


In keeping with this theme, the events will kick off with the International Festival of Cinema and Women (October 24–30), which, entitled Volver, aims to look both to the past and the future, exploring the role of women in films and the sources of inspiration for female directors and artists. The opening film, Wanda, tells of one woman’s struggle against violence, alcohol, men and crime. Other English language films include the short Girls who Smoke, in which two women with bad boyfriends and bad habits connect over a packet of cigarettes.


Next up is France Odeon (October 31–November 3), a festival which brings to Florence the best of French cinema, from box office hits to little known gems. Among those with English subtitles is the romance Grand Central about a man who trades the dangers of working at a nuclear power plant for the money that comes with the job.


LGBT cinema takes centre stage during the Florence Queer Festival (November 6–12), which will open with a burlesque show by the eccentric Sylvie Bovary, winner of the Fish&Whips Burlesque Contest in Berlin. Watch out for the European première of the short film Luca, the story of a gay man who, to his horror, wakes up from a coma to discover that he is straight, as well as international hit The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which follows the journey of two drag queens and a transsexual woman across the Australian outback. Head to the European Institute of Design for The Pink Choice, an exhibit of photos on the love of homosexual couples, which will be presented by Vietnamese photographer Maika Elan in English on October 26 at 6pm.


The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert


The multifaceted relationship between contemporary art and cinema is explored during Lo schermo dell’arte Film Festival (November 13–17). One of the highlights is the Italian premiere of Bride (in Italian with English subtitles), with the director Joël Curtz, which traces the tragic story of Italian artist Pippa Bacca, who, when travelling from Milan to Jerusalem in a wedding dress, aiming to spread a message of peace and love, was raped and strangled to death.


Next up is River to River (November 22–28), Florence’s Indian Film Festival, an annual event that presents the best of Indian cinema from the past year. All films are subtitled in English. Look for Lessons in Forgetting, which uncovers the mysteries of a small village hiding terrible secrets and prejudices, and the explosively vibrant Dancing Colours, a documentary on the ancient dance and colour festival of Holi.


The Festival dei Popoli (November 30–December 7) focuses on documentary films from around the world and features Etudes sur Paris, a 1928 film by André Sauvage, a pioneer of avant-garde documentary, which will be accompanied by a string quartet. Another documentary, Father & Son, is an autobiography directed together by a father and son duo, Marcel and Paweł Łoziński.


A festival of Finnish and Hungarian cinema, Una Finestra sul Nord (December 8–11), is next up, followed by a journey to the Balkan Peninsula through a series of documentary and feature films during the Balkan Florence Express (December 12–13).



The Florence Balkan Express


Finally, the last festival in this rich series is a journey through exotic sounds, colours and far-off lands. During Immagini & Suoni del Mondo (December 14–15) you will experience the beats of Chile during Violeta se fue a los cielos, the vivacity of Spain with Flamenco, Flamenco and the life-giving power of music under the African sun in the animated film Hungu.

 Flamenco, Flamenco


With such a rich and varied programme, the 50 Days of Cinema festival offers the chance to travel the world from your cinema seat and discover a wealth of cultures, stories and people through nine international festivals and hundreds of fantastic films.



50 Days of International Cinema

October 25 to December 15

Most events and screenings take place at the Odeon Cinema, piazza Strozzi, Florence


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