MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you’ve ever wanted to go to Italy, you can go there this weekend without leaving the Twin Cities.

The sixth annual Italian Film Festival starts Thursday night and runs through the weekend. A variety of contemporary Italian films will be shown that highlight the stories of Italy and its people.

“It’s a celebration of Italy. And the best way to celebrate it is through the movies,” said Vittorio Raimondi, the film festival’s former chair.

Even if you can’t understand the words, you can feel the intensity. “Viva La Liberta” is just one of many films that’ll invade Minneapolis this weekend.

“It talks about the story of a politician who all of the sudden disappears before election day. And his team replaces him with his twin brother,” Raimondi said.

He said this year’s films will expand into the lighter side with a few comedies. But there will also be films about Italian art, history and politics, starring some of the biggest names in Italian cinema.

“One of my favorites is the one we show on opening night. It features Tony Servillo, who was in the movie that won the Oscar just a couple days ago for best foreign film,” Raimondi said.

The growing popularity of the Italian Film Festival coincides with the growing population of Italian-Americans in the Twin Cities.

Raimondi said more and more first generation families are moving here because of opportunities they don’t have in Italy.

The migration has led to the creation of the Italian Cultural Center in Minneapolis.

And for those who’ve always wondered about the Italian culture, now they have a chance to experience it without buying a plane ticket.

“That’s really our goal is for people who can’t travel to Italy for the weekend, well they can come to Italy for the weekend and have a nice two days of full immersion,” Raimondi said.

All of the films shown this weekend will have English subtitles.

Tickets are available for this weekend’s film festival on the Italian Cultural Center website.


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