Italian Exchange

APRIL 4, 2008 , DALLAS

Watching a movie shot in Dallas is always fun for spotting local landmarks or catching a glimpse of favorite places.

“There’s Great American Hero on Lemmon Avenue!”

“Ooh, and isn’t that the male prostitute Jim picked up last week standing in the Taco Bueno parking lot? He’s a little blurry, but I think it is!”

At the 2008 AFI Dallas Film Festival, there are so many film screenings that making the right movie choices is key to enjoying the experience (well, that and watching out for celebrities not wearing underwear).

Ciao is an intriguing film. Shot mostly on location in Dallas, it’s a touching character study of two men and the bond they form under unusual circumstances. Their mutual friend Mark has just died. Jeff (Adam Neal Smith) had known him for years, whereas Andrea (Alessandro Calza) had only communicated with him via e-mail, a relationship that proved deeper and more intimate in many respects.

When Andrea makes a scheduled trip to Dallas in spite of Mark’s death, he and Jeff connect through their grief and a shared friendship that changes them both.

Directed by Yen Tan and co-written with Calza, the subtly sexy drama is gently paced and a genuinely moving look at gay friendships. The production value is rich and polished, with only the scenes of Dallas serving as a reminder that this was made in our own back yard and not Hollywood.

Even the Round-Up Saloon has a cameo. And two cowboys dancing together always makes us smile.

Ciao – World Premiere, AFI Dallas Film Festival
Tickets: $8.50
Showings: Sunday, March 30th, 7:15 p.m. at the Angelika 6 Mockingbird Station; and Saturday, April 5th, 10:30 p.m. at the Magnolia 5 West Village or