Whether their lenses turn to China's history, in the form of Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor, or the uplifting and touching tale portrayed in Roberto Begnini's Life is Beautiful, Italian auteurs continue to impress cinema audiences. The Italian Film Festival will again showcase celluloid gems with artistic flourish and superb acting when it opens at the Grand Cinema in Elements Mall on Thursday. The first film is Francesco Falaschi's comedy Emma Sono Io (I am Emma), starring Cecilia Dazzi as a woman whose outlandish behaviour forces her to make a drastic life change. La Terra (Our Land) picked up the Shanghai International Film Festival award for best cinematography in 2006. The comedy features director Sergio Rubini in a cameo role as a shifty loan shark and tells the tale of four brothers at odds over a land sale. La Terra plays on June 18. Sandro Baldoni's Italian Dream, playing on June 23, is a black comedy about a hotel clerk who dreams of opening a restaurant in London but finds himself designated by a suicidal businessman as his assassin. Gabriele Muccino's Come Te Nessuno Mai (But Forever in My Mind) won the audience award at the Paris Film Festival in 2002. It will be screened on June 16. Dillo con Parole Mie (Ginger and Cinnamon) is a romantic comedy set on the Greek island of Ios. Daniele Luchetti's coming-of-age film will be shown on June 11. The only non-comedy film is Gas, which tells the tale of six twentysomethings linked by a sense of anger and alienation. Luciano Melchionna's hard-hitting drama can be seen on Monday. All films will be shown in Italian with English subtitles. The festival is organised through the Italian Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Italian consulate. Tickets are HK$60 or HK$40 concessionary via www.thegrandcinema.com.hk .