A taste of la dolce vita is at the St. Anthony Main Theatre in Minneapolis this weekend as the seventh annual Italian Film Festival takes to screens with works from new talents and cinematic titans. Additionally, WCCO-TV’s most Italian news anchor, Frank Vascellaro, will be kicking festivities off with a gala at the nearby Aster Café, complete with food, wine and a live auction.

The festival — run by the Italian Cultural Center — begins Thursday night and runs through Sunday, March 1. And what better way to say ciao to February than to soak up some films from the sun-dappled Mediterranean?

This year’s 10-film lineup includes I Can Do Whatever I Want, a comedic take on youth unemployment that rings of Breaking Bad; The Art of Happiness, an award-winning animated film about a Neapolitan cab driver exploring his own consciousness; and Love in the City, a Golden Age gem comprised of short films about love with director credits going to the likes of Michelangelo Antonioni and Federico Fellini.

Single movie tickets for the general public are $10. Getting into the Thursday night gala costs $65. For more on the festival, including the screening dates and times, head over to the Film Society of Minneapolis/St. Paul website.

Jonathon Sharp