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In Mani Maserrat Agah’s Ciao Bella, teenagers from across the globe converge on the city of Göteborg, Sweden, for the Gothia Cup soccer tournament, looking to score in every sense of the word. Shy, Iranian-born Swede Mustafa (Poyan Karimi), like many of his classmates, hopes that the sleep-away field trip will give him a chance to finally ditch his V-card. Mustafa seems to have a shot until the Italians arrive and, as throngs of handsome, athletic Italian boys are wont to do, effortlessly steal the attention of every young woman within a 10-mile radius. Mustafa’s luck changes again with a fortuitous Marcia Brady–style ball to the face: When he exchanges his bloody shirt for an Italian team jersey, he catches the eye of the beautiful, love-starved Linnea (Chanelle Lindelle), who thinks he’s Italian and starts to flirt with him. Rather than correct her, he transforms himself into the lothario Massimo and, with the help of the Italians, goes to great lengths to keep up the ruse. The kids of Ciao Bella are more complicated than the typical nerd/jock stereotypes of most teen dramedys—generous and forgiving one moment and complete little shits the next. And the softly lit, well-scored teen sex of Hollywood is replaced with moments that are either painfully awkward or just plain painful. Still, even when its talented young cast behaves particularly badly, Ciao Bella manages to be more charming, sweet, and funny than your average American teen flick.
At 6:30 p.m. Also at 9 p.m. on Saturday, April 18. Both showings at Landmark’s E Street Cinema.