By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Apr 18, 2007 at 8:54 AM

The first annual Italian Film Festival in Milwaukee -- sponsored by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Chicago and the National Italian American Foundation -- will premiere three Italian films at Marquette’s Varsity Theater on May 22-24. Admission to all screenings is free.

The festival -- organized by The Italian Film Festival with assistance from’s Bobby Tanzilo and Marquette's Paul Salsini and sponsored by The Italian Club at Marquette University -- will screen one landmark Italian film each evening.

The Italian Film Festival is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit that organizes similar festivals in St. Louis and Kansas City.

Here are synopses of the featured films, which have not previously been screened in Milwaukee:

Tuesday, May 22: “La Febbre” (2005)
The story of Mario (Fabio Volo), a 30-year surveyor who lives with his widowed mother. He and his friends plan to start a discotheque, but, Mario is unexpectedly hired by the city. He quickly comes to realize that the requirements of his new desk job clash with his entrepreneurial spirit, while a meeting with a young woman offers other possibilities in his life.

Wednesday, May 23: “Alla Luce del Sole” (2005)
Called by the archbishop of Palermo to lead the parish in his hometown of Brancaccio, just outside the city gates, Giuseppe Puglisi was able to build a community center in less than two years. Here, assisted by a group of young volunteers, he worked hard every day to try and save the lives of small innocent children. Soon he understood that to make a dent in that disintegrating structure he needed to do and give more. Doing more and giving more, meant going up against the inertia of the local powers. Inevitably his path will place him in a position of conflict with the interests of the mafia powers. Stars Luca Zingaretti, who is best known for his role as Commissario Montalbano on Italian TV.

Thursday, May 24: “La Destinazione” (2000)
Emilio (Roberto Magnani), a young man from Rimini, enrolls in the State Police and is assigned to Coloras, a small town in the Barbagia area of Sardinia. Soon he comes to realize that the interior of Sardinia is a world all of its own, steeped in centuries-old traditions. One day a man is killed and the state police try to capture the assassin. During the same period, Emilio meets and begins dating Giacomina, a young girl from the town. On Good Friday, a grave incident occurs that disturbs Emilio and he decides to leave Coloras for a new "destination.”

The Varsity Theater is located at 1326 W. Wisconsin Ave. on the Marquette University campus and in addition to street parking, ample space is available in the parking structure at 1240 W. Wells St. The Web site is