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5 recent great Italian films you may have missed - Visit Rimini

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5 recent great Italian films you may have missed



Last year’s Cannes film festival spotlighted Italian cinema with two big films in competition, Paolo Sorrentino’s biopic of Giulio Andreotti Il Divo

and the international hit adaptation of Roberto Saviano’s crime book Gomorrah
. Two great films that have hadsome of the  international success they deserve.

Every year, though, there are plenty of top-notch Italian films that get released and never make it beyond the border. Cinema, since the movies were invented has always been important in Italy – indeed many cities in Emilia-Romagna set up open-air cinema during the hot summer months. Here in Rimini, for example, you can watch films on the beach near the symbolic Grand Hotel (featured famously in Fellini’s Amarcord).

So,  we here at visit-rimini.com have decided to put together a completely subjective and perhaps biased list (in no particular order) of five Italian films of recent years that you really should make an effort to see. We’ve tried to focus on films that haven’t received major international attention (so don’t bombard us with angry demands as to why such-and-such film is not included!)

Pranzo di Ferragosto

Pranzo di Ferragosto (Mid August Lunch)

Pranzo di Ferragosto (Mid August Lunch)

(dir Gianni Di Gregorio 2008)
This is one of those great Italian films where precious little happens, but it leaves you with an instant and seemingly effortless snapshot of a society in a particular time. Di Gregorio’s debut directorial effort deservedly won a prize at the Venice International Film Festival. It tells the story of an ageing bachelor in Rome whose life is dominated by looking after his mother. To repay favours, to avoid eviction, and simply because he has little or no choice, he takes in another three elderly women over the bank-holiday weekend of Ferragosto (the 15th of August). The star of the film is undoubtedly the director himself Gianni Di Gregorio who plays the lead role of Gianni – the way his worn face responds to the challenges presented by the weekend are worth the ticket price alone.

Le Fate Ignoranti

Le Fate Ignoranti

Le Fate Ignoranti

(dir Ferzan Özpetek 2001)
Le Fate Ignoranti is probably the highest profile film on this list, partly because it was co-financed in France, and partly because its theme made it a big hit with Gay and Lesbian film festivals around the world. Özpetek, the Turkish director and long-time resident in Rome, has since gone on from strength to strength, but this film remains a must-see. It tells the story of the sudden death of Massimo, a thirty-year old with a secret life. While mourning him his wife, Antonia (played by the brilliant Margherita Buy) discovers that he in fact lived a double-life, partly with her but also with his homosexual partner Michele (played by Stefano Accorsi – one of his breakthrough roles).

Manuale d'Amore

Manuale d'Amore

Manuale d’Amore

(Giovanni Veronese 2005)
This is Richard Curtis style sentimentality done Italian style – not to everybody’s taste, but a huge box-office hit here, and worth watching for the cast alone which includes some of Italy’s top talent (and the sequel Manuale d’Amore pt 2 even more so) Carlo Verdone, Margherita Buy, Sergio Rubini, And Silvio Muccino. The film is split into four different sections, each with its own stars, Love, Crisis, Betrayal, and Abandonment, all held together by the device of a radio talkshow. The film won two David’s at the Italian ‘Oscars’ the Donatello awards, for best non-leading actor (Carlo Verdone) and Best non-leading Actress (Margherita Buy).

Giorni e Nuvole

Giorni e Nuvole

Giorni e Nuvole

(Silvio Soldini 2007)
Perhaps more than any other country in Europe Italy is regional, and starring in almost all of its films are the locations – whether it be the Turin of Roberto Faenza’s Giorni del Abbandono, or the Bologna of Gabriele Salvatores’ Quo Vadis Baby, the setting is often at the forefront of Italian film. This is particularly true of this low-key film set in Genoa, which tells the story of a succesful lawyer , played by Antonio Albanese, who loses his job and struggles with issues of self-worth and masculinity whilst his wife – the omnipresent Margharita Buy (how many great films has this woman made!!) reverses traditional gender roles by becoming the breadwinner. The small alleys of this ancient port town, coupled with the sea visually emphasises the storm this couple must weather.

Dieci a Zero

Da Zero a Dieci

Da Zero a Dieci

(Luciano Ligabue 2001)
Given that we’re in Rimini it seems only fair that we choose a film set here, though rock-star Luciano Ligabue’s second film as a director is a must see for various other reasons. It tells the story of four friends in their thirties who, to keep a promise made, return to Rimini where they had celebrated their first taste-of-freedom holiday. Also keeping the promise are four girls whom they had met that lost weeknd. Re-united away from their respective spouses and day-to-day lives the group reflect on the paths their lives have taken, wistfully against the backdrop of the Adriatic Riviera, with its gaudy nightspots, romantic beach dawns etc. There is, though, a major twist in the film which lifts it up out the mid-life-crisis genre, making it something much more important and a must-see of recent Italian cinema.

So, these are our picks. Do you have any favourite Italian films of recent years that you think should make the list? Send them on to us, with an explanation of why they’re important to you.

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2 Responses to “5 recent great Italian films you may have missed”

  1. Janet Wells says:

    I’m trying to find out the name of an italian film my husband saw on a plane 2 months ago about a man who is taught how to love by an older woman and uses it to woo the very woman who taught him how to love/seduce. He got off the plane and was raving about it (which says quite a bit, because he doesn’t watch film that often).
    thanks!
    Janet

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