Friday October 27, Ms. Marie Louise ANTENUCCCI, President of the Villerupt Image Center opened the speeches at the opening ceremony of the 46th edition of the Villerupt Italian Film at l’Arche, a new cross-border multicultural center located near the Belgian-Luxembourg borders, recalling the leading role of the various partnerships established with the various associations and sponsors as well as welcoming the action and the leading role of the 150 volunteers who contribute to the sustainability of the Italian Film Festival of Villerupt.
The Mayor of Villerupt Pierrick Spizack then recalled the burning themes and current subjects addressed in Ettore SCOLA’s 1977 film A Special Day screened at the end of the ceremony and at the opening of the Festival, namely, intolerance , differences in sexual orientation through the role of a homosexual intellectual banned from the radio played by Marcello Mastroianni who meets on May 6, 1938, the date of Adolphe Hitler’s visit to Bénitto Mussolini in Rome, Sophia Loren, mother of large family … in accordance with the family policy of the Duce era in Italy. Pierrick Spizack then praised the virtues of Italian immigration in this welcoming land of Lorraine and Villerupt which since 1915 has enabled the settlement of numerous Italian families and their successful integration over successive generations, arguing that this environment and Italian-speaking ground of Villerupt proved to be the ideal place for the creation of the Villerupt Film Festival in 1976 and its sustainability. The Mayor of Villerupt won over the audience with a current and impactful formula: “Cinema represents a weapon for building massive peace”.
Patrick Risser, President of the CCPHVA Communauté de communes Pays Haut Val d’Alzette recalled that the “flagship” that the Italian Film Festival had become would once again be a place for exchanges and meetings for two weeks and that the Culture still stood out as the only sector to contribute to citizen cohesion.
Madame Chaynesse Khirouni, President of the departmental council of Meurthe et Moselle, after welcoming the choice of Milan and Lombardy as the centerpiece of this 46 Edition 2023, recalled that it was in Milan in 1896 that the first screenings of the Lumière brothers had been presented, but also more somberly that on March 23, 1919 the first Italian combat beams had been created by Benito Mussolini which gave birth to fascism.
After having mentioned that Milan was then considered as the symbol of post-war industrial success, becoming the capital of design and the art of living but also the city of all inequalities, class conflicts and fertile ground to populism and xenophobia, to the extreme right leading to fear of the other, Ms. Khirouni then ideally continued with her recent personal visit on the Ocean Viking, a boat from SOS Méditerranée, an Association which saved more than 40 000 lives since 2015 and recalled the mobilization of the Departmental Council of Meurthe et Moselle and the City of Villerupt to support the action of this association: saving lives.
Ms. Khirouni concluded with these words “Cinema, Our pride, culture as a vector of openness, a bridge to others, to the World, of sharing through life stories that cinema knows how to tell us,” in recalling the ideal location of Villerupt in “the heart of Europe and the benefit of the effervescence of the cultural mix linked to its welcoming tradition.”
This was followed by interventions by Martine LIZOLA, President of the Culture and Memory Commission of the Grand Est region and Antonella FONTANA, Consul General of Italy in Metz.
Oreste SACCHELLI, founder of the Festival and current artistic advisor then presented the members of the Young Jury as well as Dominique Besnehard, President of the Jury, accompanied by Anne Dominique Toussaint (producer), Bruno Putzulu and Marie Jung (actress).
Remember that nearly 70 films are showing in 6 theaters in 4 cities (Villerupt, Audun le Tiche, Esch sur Alzette and Dudelange), i.e. 250 Screenings in 17 Days, with a Miracle in Milan theme and a tribute to Ettore Scola.
All the programming, synopsis of the 70 films screened, trailers on the Festival website:
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