Los Angeles Celebrates Italian Culture On Eve Of Oscars

Carol King | Mon, 02/18/2013 - 04:39
sergio leone

Los Angeles is celebrating Italian culture and style in the run-up to the Oscars with a series of events featuring film, music, fashion and art.

On the eve of the Academy Awards the week-long ‘Los Angeles Italia Film, Fashion and Art Fest’ runs from 17 to 23 February at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. The festival includes previews, performances, awards and lectures that promote the best of new Italian cinema, as well as fashion, music and entertainment.

Staged by the Istituto Capri nel Mondo (Capri in The World Institute), the festival is in its eighth year. It is one of the events in the ‘Year of Italian Culture in the United States’ programme.

This year, there is a tribute to director Sergio Leone with the screening of two of his most important films: ‘C’era una volta in America’ (Once Upon a Time in America, 1984) in the restored version presented at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and ‘Giù la testa’ (Duck, You Sucker!/A Fistful of Dynamite, 1971). There is also an exhibition, ‘Tribute to the Myth of Sergio Leone’, curated by Oscar-winning production designer and set decorator Dante Ferretti.

Italian director Iginio Straffi’s ‘Gladiatori di Roma’ (Gladiators of Rome) 3D animated adventure story had its American premier on the opening night yesterday. Straffi was honoured with the festival’s new Italia Excellence Award. The festival also announced it would pay homage to Al Pacino with the first Jack Valenti-LA-Italia Legend Award for “outstanding Italian-Americans who made major contributions to the global motion picture industry.”

The festival is also mounting a photography show at the theatre, ‘Etoile - Eleonora Abbagnato’ by Massimo Gatti. There is an homage to the art of Emilia-Romagna – the north Italian region devastated by an earthquake in 2012 – at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the University of Southern California. Rock star Zucchero ‘Sugar’ Fornaciari will be honoured on the evening of 21 February at the Grammy Museum, and the day after, the theatre will screen his ‘La Sesión Cubana Concert in L’Avana’ (Cuban Session Concert in Havana, 2012).

From 19 February to 8 March, the Italian Cultural Institute in Los Angeles is putting on a show ‘Hats On Film’ that celebrates the relationship between Italian traditional craftsmanship and the cinema. It features an installation of hundreds of straw hats that will be personalised live by expert milliners, a montage of moments in cinematic history in which hats play starring roles, and a photographic exhibition on millinery
and historical head-coverings using images selected from the costume gallery at Florence’s Palazzo Pitti.

The Academy Awards will be held on 24 February.