The 2011 Italian Film Festival, “Cinema Italiano: Southern Perspectives,” will begin on Thursday, October 20 and continue through Saturday, October 22, 2011. Presented by the College of Charleston’s Italian Program, the screenings will take place at Sottile Theater (44 George Street) and are free and open to the public. All movies are in Italian with English subtitles.

John Turturro’s “Passione,” an artful and exuberant examination of Neapolitan music featuring some of the city’s famous musicians and singers, will open the festival at 6:30 p.m. on October 20. The screening will be preceded by a 5:30 p.m. reception featuring Italian aperitivi.

“We have a community here in Charleston that appreciates the finer things Italy has to offer, and great cinema is one of them,” says Giovanna De Luca, professor of Italian and festival organizer. “This three-day event has drawn hundreds of moviegoers in years past, and will no doubt generate a great turnout once again.

The festival continues on Friday, October 21 at 5:30 p.m. screening of “La Siciliana Ribelle,” or “The Sicilian Girl.” Marco Amenta’s film recounts the true crime story of Mafia daughter Rita Atria, who risked her life to break the code of silence and testify against “The Family” in 1991. It will be followed at 7:30 p.m. by “Basilicata Coast to Coast,” a lyrical, subtle and loving tribute to a little-known part of Italy, punctuated by a wonderful soundtrack of jazzy songs by director Rocco Papaleo.

The festival concludes at the Sottile on Saturday, October 22, with a 5:30 p.m. screening of “Fughe e Approdi,” by Giovanna Taviani. The film is an imaginative journey through the magnificent Aeolian islands, and a nostalgic paean to memory and cinema. The last film in the festival series, shown at 7:30 p.m., is “Welcome to the South,” Luca Miniero’s charming remake of the French hit “Welcome to the Sticks.” Miniero’s version, subtler and funny, pokes fun at stereotypes associated with Italy’s south.

For more information, visit