CINEMA/ UNICEF Innocenti Film Festival
Showcasing the awe, excitement, uncertainty and struggles of childhood, the UNICEF Innocenti Film Festival (UIFF) returns to Florence from October 21 to 24. Thirty-seven films from 28 countries depicting diverse but universal experiences of childhood will be shown free of charge at Cinema La Compagnia and online via MyMovies.it. Screenings will be followed by dialogues between the filmmakers and UNICEF experts. Films include Antara, which charts the first few days of lockdown in the densely populated city of Dhaka in Bangladesh; The Game, telling the story of a group of football-mad children in one of the biggest slums in Kenya; and A Scarecrow, which depicts the lives of young girls in the high mountaintops of Nepal. Other films touch on the hesitancy to grow up in Eggshell (Ireland), the pressures of social media in The Right Words (France) and the stigma faced by children of ISIS fighters in Iraq’s Lost Generation. Full details of all the films to be screened will be announced on 14 October. For more information about the festival visit uiff.org.
Cinema La Compagnia and online
‘Next Generation Women’ are at the center of the fourth edition of the festival that celebrates females, under the artistic direction of Serena Dandini. Icons of feminism Gloria Steinem and Donna Ferrato are exciting highlights of the line-up, with intriguing collaborations with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and guests such as Virigina Stagni, the youngest ever manager of the Financial Times. As part of the festivities, works by well-known street artists Lediesis, Ale Senso and Laika will be on display from October 22 to November 14 at Informacittà, via San Gallo 121, in an exhibition titled Woman’s World. October 23 will see psychologist and psychotherapist Loredana Renzi present Momolina Marconi, followed by Francesca Vannini on Sister Plautilla Nelli, with guests Roberta Lapucci and Jane Adams of Caravaggio & Contemporary discussing “Sisterhood: female creativity in Florentine convents”, followed by an egg tempera workshop with art teacher Francesca Vannini and restorer Anita Magdalena Gonzalez at Chiesa di Ognissanti.
Various locations and online
A new show at Strozzi is always something to get excited about, and this is certainly the case with the major exhibition dedicated to the internationally renowned contemporary artist, Jeff Koons. Curated by Arturo Galansino and Joachim Pissaro, some of the artist’s most famous works will populate the halls of the gallery ranging from the mid-1970s through to today and developed in close dialogue with the artist. Dancing around the ambiguous ideas of ‘being’ and ‘seeming’, ‘truth’ and ‘sensation’, the American artist alludes to art history and consumerism in his works, questioning our very relationship with reality and even with what constitutes a work of art. Start pondering at www.palazzostrozzi.org.
piazza degli Strozzi, Florence
A four-day film fest journeys through some of the many facets of contemporary Chinese culture with a selection of films previously unreleased in Italy. The line-up features Balloon directed by Pema Tseden that was presented in the Horizons section at the 76th Venice International Film Festival. The title of the festival means “variety of blooming flowers”, poetically referring to China’s diverse cinematography.
Cinema La Compagnia,
via Camillo Cavour 50, Florence
The 2021 edition of the Firenze dei Bambini festival is dedicated to Dante and invites those of all ages to rediscover the city and its sites. 300 children will dress as Dante in Piazza Santa Croce for the InfernoParadiso: Con e senza Dante show, and a night spent sleeping in the Salone dei Cinquecento at Palazzo Vecchio is bound to make memories to last a lifetime. Journey into the afterlife in the Complex of Santa Maria Novella, or listen to captivating readings in the Oblate library. There will also be free museum entrance for young participants and their accompanying adult at the Palazzo Vecchio Museum, Museo Novecento, the Stefano Bardini Museum and the Cloisters of Santa Maria Novella (showing the festival bracelet). All of the initiatives are free, with reservations required. www.firenzebambini.it.
Various Locations, Florence
The 28th edition of the performance-packed programme scatters events by national and international artists across the city in a multifaceted contemporary extravaganza. Dance and installations by Francesca Foscarini and Cosimo Lopalco grace Villa Caruso, via Bellosguardo 54, on October 2 and 3, while a video-art installation at the PARC Performing Arts Research Center at piazzale delle Cascine 4 curated by Tommaso Arosio and Giulio Sonno takes place from October 12 to 17. Whether you fancy dance, theatre, performance art, installations or even electronic music, this veritable contemporary-cultural all-sorts won’t disappoint.
Works by British artist Jenny Saville on display in Florence
Figurative yet abstract works by British artist Jenny Saville dialogue with the European pictorial tradition in a unique engagement with both the historical and the contemporary. The intriguing show is curated by Sergio Risaliti, director of the Museo Novecento, with some of the major museums of the city: Museo di Palazzo Vecchio, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Museo degli Innocenti and Museo di Casa Buonarroti. With both formal and gestural elements, the works place the figure at the centre of the discourse, with traces of Willem de Kooning, Cy Twombly, Pablo Picasso and Francis Bacon perceptible, and even masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance.
Various locations, Florence
Twelve locations, many meetings, and internationally renowned speakers investigate the transformation of our society as we merge the physical and the digital into a new dimension, as declared in this year’s theme: ‘The Future is #PHYGITAL’. Ten thematic areas are explored, such as Legal Tech and Cybern/Ethics, with gaming, literature, and training featuring in the captivating progamme. Talks that are bound to pique interest include a discussion on the repercussions of the internet on tourism and our enjoyment of culture.
Various locations in Pisa and online
Dante Alighieri gets a contemporary makeover with the Dante Pop exhibition dedicated to pop interpretations of the poet. Hosted in the Oratory of Santa Caterina in Bagno a Ripoli until October 24, the fantastical journey takes us through various ways the figure of Dante has been interpreted from the 20th century to the present day. Comics (don’t miss Mickey Mouse Dante!), film and advertisements make up the display, with Dante-themed workshops for street art, rap and videogames giving a whole new interpretive lens to the cultural icon. More traditional (but no less fascinating) images are on display the Bargello National Museum on via del Proconsolo 4. Titled The wonderful vision: Dante and the Comedy in the Symbolist Imagination will be on display until January 9, 2022, and is particularly significant given that this medieval palace is home to the oldest known portrait of Dante. The show explores the complex perception of the figure of Dante and the Divine Comedy in the artistic and literary context of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The 22nd edition of the International Ceramics Fair will fill the much-loved piazza with creators and their crafts from 10am to 7pm on the first weekend of October, as over 80 national and international ceramists bring their contemporary creations together. Workshops, seasonal produce, and an urban trekking route dedicated to ceramics add to the appeal.
Piazza Santa Croce, Florence
The 6th edition of the charity market exhibition brings together plants, flowers, crafts and cultural activities to help the Amici di Santo Spirito raise funds for security services inside the church. A group of florists and horticulturists will add colour to the event, with other exhibitors presenting their handicrafts, jewellery, clothing, watercolours, prints, terracotta, bags, designs and more. Guided tours of the Basilica and Michelangelo’s wooden crucifix entice culture vultures, as well as workshops on topics like engraving, flower sushi, watercolours, wicker baskets, and handmade flower perfumes by the Istituto dei Bardi and the Le Arti Orafe Jewellery School, taking place at via dei Michelozzi 2. For info see the @Floralia2021 and @IstitutodeiBardi Facebook pages, or write to [email protected]
Cloister of the Convent of Santo Spirito,
piazza Santo Spirito 30
Palazzo Corsini on the Lungarno hosts an autumnal edition of the Florence Vintage Market. Cherish the treasures of fashions gone by, while also contributing to Fondazione Italiana di Leniterapia, with all funds raised going towards palliative care and psychological support services for the ill and their families. Open from 11am to 4pm on weekdays, and 11am to 6pm on weekends, a wide selection of high-quality clothes and accessories will be available for purchase, with sartorial secrets bound to be buried in the trove.
Lungarno Corsini 8, Florence
The Children’s Lending Library at the St James Episcopal Church on via Bernardo Rucellai 9 finally reopens on September 26, having been closed since February 2019. Opening hours are from midday to 2pm, with only one family unit allowed inside at a time given the small size of the library. All are welcome; new volunteers in particular! They also kick-start their events programme once more, with a book reading in the Villa Ventaglio park near piazza Edison, from 3.30-6pm on October 2. If interested, contact the Children’s Library Lending Facebook page or the Bee-Bilingual Facebook page, or call 391 3921221 for more details on where to meet for this free event.
Cinema Odeon Firenze (piazza degli Strozzi) brings Bond back to the big screen from October 8, with 007 No Time to Die. The 25th film in the series stars Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris and Ralph Fiennes, and is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. Denis Villeneuve’s blockbuster Dune is also screening, in an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel. The epic adventure features Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Mamoa and Javier Bardem in the story of a dangerous journey to another planet. A documentary dedicated to Salvatore Ferragamo titled ‘Salvatore: Shoemaker of dreams’, directed by Luca Guadagnino is scheduled for mid-October. Films are shown in English, with Italian subtitles. For the full programme, see www.odeonfirenze.com.
The British Institute of Florence (Lungarno Guicciardini 9) hold their Wednesday Lectures series both in person and online via Zoom at 6pm each week. On Oct 6, there will be a lecture and wine tasting titled ‘Sonnino Castle’, on Oct 13 Mark Roberts will give a lecture titled ‘Sir Horace Mann and the Grand Tourists’, Alexandra Lawrence will speak about ‘Women in Dante’ on Oct 20, and Jeremy Boudreau will discuss ‘Omnium Gatherum: American Sculptors in Risorgimento Italy’ on Oct 27. The Music al British series will see a piano concert by Dalia Lazar at 6.30pm on Oct 7 with a performance of Liszt’s ‘Dante Sonata’, and Jonathan Ferrucci will play Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’ at 6.30pm on Oct 26. See www.britishinsitute.it or contact [email protected] for info.
Marina Calamai: the artist and designer collaborates in a free, interactive workshop for children and teenagers titled ‘Leonardo 4 Children: Climate Action and Gender Equality’ from 9.30am to 12.30pm on October 1, held online. For info and reservations see the Carano 4 Children foundation Facebook page.
St Mark’s English Church (via Maggio 16) continue their cultural programme with the Armchair Drama Club at 8pm on Oct 5, the LGBTQ social takes place at 7pm on Oct 27, and the Book Club meets at 8pm on Oct 28. Yoga with Kamin Mohammadi continues on Fridays at 6pm and Barreandsi with Claire Kolb at 11am on Saturdays. This month, Florence Photographers will be launched, with info available at [email protected]. For the concerts programme and all other info, see www.stmarksitaly.com. Donations are welcome for all events, which go towards the church and the running of the cultural calendar.
Female Arts in Florence host a wide-range of courses in their space at borgo San Frediano 131, including Origami on Oct 9 and Ceramics on Oct 30. Mixed media and natural ink works by Auria Bohn will be on display from Oct 7 to Nov 4, and FAF participate in L’eredità delle Donne from Oct 22-24 with book presentations, aperitivi, workshops, self-defense presentations, performance art, contemporary dance, video installations, and talks looking at topics such as forgotten Italian writers. Get in touch at [email protected] or see the @fafcraftwomen Facebook page and @femaleartsinflorence on Instagram.