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‘The Italian Key’ explores feel-good cinema

The Italian Key

Directed by Rosa Karo

Written by Rosa Karo

The Italian Key is the feature debut for Finnish writer/director, Rosa Karo. In her film, she explores a fairytale-esque scenario of a 19-year-old orphaned girl named Cabella and her adventures in Italy. Karo’s primary goal in the feature was to bring about sensations of happiness, joy and fulfillment without the use of sex, drugs or violence – or any action for that matter. The film’s largest conflict is waylaid in moments and the film resumes it’s peaceful trotting pace towards the end.

In the film, Cabella (played by newcomer Gwendolyn Anslow) has never known her parents and has lived with her non-related Uncle Max for as long as she can remember. When Max dies and his upper-class relatives claim everything, Cabella only inherits an old key that Max has left her in secret. Sad and without much to look forward to, she travels to Italy and finds a run-down villa in a little village coincidently named ‘Cabella’ where she starts her new life and explores the mysteries of the house and slowly unravels her family history.

What could be confused as a boring, melodious feature, The Italian Key, manages to touch upon emotions of belonging, curiosity, and love. The film’s score by Tuomas Kantelinen is masterfully executed to match the majestic landscape of Italy and the deeply rooted emotions of the feature. The stunning visuals of the Italian landscape and a surprise subplot in India really carry this feature. One can’t help but feel pulled into the textures and quiet moments of the film.

The Italian Key had it’s world-premiere at the appropriately named Feel Good Film Festival in Los Angeles where it look Best Feature. The film has since gone on to win titles such as Best of Fest (Route 66 Film Festival), Best Film (Tulsa Int’l Film Festival), Audience Award for Best Feature (Temecula Valley Int’l Film Festival), Best Foreign Feature (Prince Edward Island Int’l Film Festival), Best Director (Tenerife Int’l Film Festival UK) and Best Music (Park City Film Music Festival).