London’s Italian Film Festival 2011 kicks off tonight, 1 March 2011, with a concert at London’s Cadogan Hall by Nicola Piovani, winner of the Academy Award for the score of Roberto Benigni’s Life Is Beautiful in 1998.

Over the next six days, the festival will offer London audiences screenings of 10 brand new Italian films at the Ciné Lumiere, together with a series of Q&A sessions with directors and actors.

Among the films being showcased are the comedies Lost Kisses (I Baci mai dati) directed by Roberta Torre, and Basilicata Coast to Coast directed by Rocco Papaleo and The Passion (La passione) directed by Carlo Mazzacurati, plus the 1970s-set crime film Angels of Evil (Vallanzasca – Gli Angeli del male) by Michele Placido, and Sorelle Mai, the latest film by Marco Bellocchio, director of the highly acclaimed Vincere and Good Morning, Night.

The festival comes to a climax on Sunday 6 March with a screening of director by Stefano Incerti’s crime drama Gorbaciof, which stars the great Toni Servillo (familiar to UK audiences from Il Divo and Gomorra) as an accountant at Poggioreale Prison in Naples. Nicknamed Gorbaciof because of the prominent birthmark on his forehead, he slides down a slippery slope into a life of crime after he falls in love with a Chinese girl called Lila.

The festival then continues for the rest of March at the Italian Cultural Institute with a tribute to Federico Fellini and Mario Monicelli and a series of screenings focused on film and food.

Divertitevi!

For more information on the festival: www.italianfilmfestival.co.uk

Angels of Evil (27 May) and Gorbaciof (summer) will both be released by Artificial Eye later this year.