Tauranga’s Rialto Cinema has been hosting the Italian Film Festival this last week and I was lucky enough to catch Bella Vita, a truly enchanting documentary about the beauty of Italy and its unique surf culture.

Classed as a surf movie, this film is so much more than that, and it has truly reinforced Italy’s special place in my heart.  From sweeping panoramas of vine-laden countryside to detailed exploration of local artisans hand crafting their products, the rich Italian culture is effortlessly woven into the movie.  

There is some amazing surf footage shot on a 35mm, so you really get the feeling you are along for the ride on Chris Del Moro’s pilgrimage back to his homeland.  Not only do we get to see some great long boarding, but better yet, the whole crew help out with the harvest at a local Tuscan vineyard, and then sit down to eat an Italian family feast surrounded by vines. sigh. 

The crew then visit local artisans who live and work in the Tuscany area, pasta makers surrounded by racks of drying pasta, surfboard shapers and artists. People creating with passion, who are just so happy sharing their craft, and the love of what they do with others.  The strong sense of family and community that comes across in the movie was perhaps the most appealing aspect for me, as these are the same values that are most important in my life, and this culture seems to have it them in abundance. Their happiness is so infectious you wonder how you can get a piece of this beautiful life for yourself.  

Check it out for yourself here and watch this space, a good friend of mine might be holding a screening very soon!