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Published August 13, 2013

We all know there’s nothing Melbournians love more than good coffee. And one of the best places to get real coffee in Melbourne is on Lygon Street.

Following three sell-out sessions at MIFF, Lygon Street: Si parla Italiano will get a theatrical release exclusively at Cinema Nova on November 14.

The documentary brings to life “Little Italy”, as told by the “men and women who made it.” It explores one of the most iconic streets in Melbourne, exploring the “historic heartland of Melbourne’s Italian community.”

Post World War 2, Australia flung open its doors to anyone willing to come. With the promise of a better life European migrants flocked in and one in six of these were Italians. Instead, they found themselves alone in peculiar surroundings and face-to-face with ‘real’ Aussies. Fearing what they didn’t understand, Australians were suspicious of the new arrivals. Coffee made from oddly shaped machines and a food called ‘Pizza’ were all things to be wary of and the press echoed their thoughts, “Let us hope that immigration of the future will be planned deliberately and intelligently and offer more opportunities to the people of our own stock” said one newsreel.  It wouldn’t deter the passionate migrants. Simply, they re-created all the things they missed from home in one particular street of a then rundown Melbourne suburb.

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Narrated by AFI and Golden Globe winner Anthony LaPaglia and directed by Shannon Swan, Lygon Street: Si parla Italiano features names such as Salvatore “Toto” della Bruna, who set up Australia’s first pizza house, Giancarlo Giusti, who introduced boutique coffee roasting to Australia (you’re welcome, hipsters), and Ralph Bernadi, the first Italian Lord Mayor of Melbourne.

Lygon Street: Si parla Italiano opens exclusively at Cinema Nova on November 14, including an opening night gala and Q&A.

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