nclrc_logo
George Washington University
language_students student_girl student_computer university


Powered by Google

The Culture Club screening  Collection - Screening Room - Italian amazon_store World Music on Amazon Go to our Featured Reviews
Speakers' Corner
Photo Gallery
Banquet Hall
Music Room
Library
Screening Room
Bloggers Den
Teachers' Lounge
Hangout
Collection
Current Directory
Editorial Staff
About the CC
Newsletter
French Italian Russian Spanish Arabic Chinese German Japanese Korean Other Back to CC Collection
Movie Titles

Ricordati di me (Remember me my love), 2003
Rappresaglia (Massacre in Rome), 1973
Mio fratello e’ figlio unico (My brother is an only child), 2007
La Finestra di Fronte (Facing Windows), 2004
Il Postino (The Postman), 1994
Giorni e Nuvole (Days and Clouds, 2007)
Il Divo: La straordinaria vita di Giulio Andreotti (The Star: The extraordinary life of Giulio Andreotti), 2008
The Mandrake Root, 2008
Verso Sera (Towards Evening), 1991
Mafioso, 1962

Grande Strada Azzurra (The Wide Blue Road), 1957

Deserto dei Tartari (Desert of the Tartars), 1976

Luce Dei Miei Occhi (Light of My Eyes), 2001

Le Amiche (Girl Friends), 1955

Notti Bianche (White Nights), 1957
Un Difetto di Famiglia (Family Flaw)
La Scorta - 1994
La Vita è Bella
Amarcord
Caro Diario
Cristo Si É Fermato A Eboli
Io Non Ho Paura (I’m Not Afraid)
Malena - 2000
Mediterraneo (Mediterranean)
Respiro (Breathing Room) - 2002
Roma Citta Aperta (Open City)
I Vitelloni (The Layabouts)
Umberto D
Il Conformista (The Conformist)
Il Fuoco su de me
Il Giardino Dei Finzi-Contini (The Garden Of The Finzi-Contini)
Travolti da un insolito destino nell'azzuro mare d'agosto (Swept Away) - 1974

Back to top


Movie Reviews

Ricordati di me (Remember me my love), 2003
Director: Gabriele Muccino
Run time:125 minutes 
Language: Italian (with subtitles in English) 
Country: Italy  
Awards:  10 nominations for  David di Donatello awards
Availability:  yes 

English version below 

ricordatiIl giovane regista romano Gabriele Muccino ritrae l’ambiente che conosce meglio, quello di una tipica famiglia romana composta di padre, madre, una  figlia 17enne e un figlio 19enne, con la quale molti avranno timore ad identificarsi. La determinazione della figlia Valentina (Nicoletta Romanoff) a sfondare a tutti i costi nel campo televisivo sprigiona i sogni frustrati degli altri membri. 

Sono proprio le persone più vicine a noi, le più care, spesso a non credere al nostro potenziale, a non sostenerci e ad uccidere le nostre aspirazioni con la loro indifferenza.  A volte, più o meno inconsciamente, addirittura per non perdere il controllo nella relazione o per semplice egoismo.  Si va avanti presi dalla frenesia della vita moderna, ci parliamo, ma non ci ascoltiamo.

 La madre Giulia (Laura Morante) aveva studiato recitazione e voleva fare l’attrice ma aveva abbandonato l’idea per mettersi a fare l’insegnante e tirare su una famiglia.  Carlo (Fabrizio Bentivoglio), funzionario di una compagnia d’investimenti, sognava di fare lo scrittore, ma sono anni che non si decide a scrivere il capitolo finale del suo unico libro.  Carlo incontra una vecchia fiamma che apprezza il suo libro e con cui riallaccia una relazione.  Giulia anche ottiene una parte in una piccola rappresentazione teatrale dove è sostenuta e valorizzata dal regista.   Il figlio Paolo (Silvio Muccino), alla soglia della maturità scolastica, è alla ricerca di se stesso e dietro una ragazza che non lo corrisponde.  Anche lui, pur non sapendo ancora come, sulle orme della sorella ripete le parole della madre:” Un giorno faro’ vedere che valgo più di tutti voi”. 

I vari membri di questa famiglia disfunzionale si parlano, ma troppo spesso strillano e non si ascoltano, si prendono per scontati e vanno ognuno per conto proprio.  Tuttavia, dopo un grave incidente di uno dei membri, riescono a stare uniti e a sostenersi a vicenda.  Sarà veramente una nuova famiglia o torneranno le cose come prima? 
- Recommended by Carlo Mignani, Italian Film Review Editor 

English version 

The young Roman director, Gabriele Muccino, depicts the environment that he knows best, that of a typical Roman family, composed of a father, mother, a 17 year old daughter and a 19 year old son, with whom many will fear to identify.  The determination of the young daughter Valentina (Nicoletta Romanoff) to make it at all costs in the TV industry releases the frustrated dreams of the other members.

The very people closest and dearest to us are often the ones to not believe in our potential, to not support us and to kill our aspirations with their indifference.  At times, more or less consciously, to not lose control in the relationship or for pure egoism.  One goes on, taken by the frenzy of modern life, we speak to each other, but do not really listen.

The mother Giulia (Laura Morante) studied acting and wanted to become an actress, but she abandoned the idea to teach and to raise a family.  Carlo (Fabio Ventivoglio), an executive of an investment company, dreamed of becoming a writer, but it’s been years and he still hasn’t finished the final chapter of his only book.  He meets an old flame that appreciates his book, they start to read it together and reestablish a relationship.  Giulia gains a small part in a play where she is supported and appreciated by the director.  The son Paolo (Silvio Muccino), near the “maturità,” his high school degree, is trying to find himself and pines for a girl who is not interested.  Paolo, not even knowing yet how, in the footsteps of his sister, repeats the words of their mother:  “One day I’ll show that I am worth more than you all.”

The various members of this dysfunctional family speak to each other, but too often shout, do not listen, take each other for granted and everyone is on his own.  Still, after a grave accident of one of the members, they are able to stay united and to support each other.  Will this be a new family or will things go back to the way they were? 
- Recommended by Carlo Mignani, Italian Film Review Editor

Back to top


Rappresaglia (Massacre in Rome), 1973

Director: George P. Cosmatos
Run Time: 110 minutes
Language: Italian (with subtitles in English)
Country: Italy
Availability: netflix; amazon.com


rappresagliaItalian Version

Il film Rappresaglia ricostruisce un evento del 23 marzo 1944 durante l’occupazione tedesca della capitale in piena Seconda Guerra Mondiale. Marcello Mastroianni è Padre Antonelli, un prete specializzato nel restauro d’arte. Richard Burton è il colonnello Herbert Kappler, responsabile militare tedesco della città e, tra l’altro, coinvolto nello spedire in Germania opere d’arte italiane.

Nel giorno del 25esimo anniversario della fondazione del fascismo, alcuni studenti di Padre Antonelli insieme ad alcuni partigiani compiono un attentato in Via Rasella, che causa la morte di 32 soldati tedeschi.

Si attivano subito le consultazioni tra Roma e Berlino per decidere le contromisure da adottare. È interessante notare come gli ufficiali tedeschi, ascoltando la BBC, si rendano conto dell’avanzata degli alleati e del peggioramento della loro situazione militare. Temendo future ritorsioni decidono di avere un atteggiamento più moderato nei confronti dei partigiani catturati.

Di rilievo è anche la ricostruzione delle consultazioni tra i rappresentanti tedeschi, il Vaticano interessato soprattutto a proteggere la città di Roma e gli esponenti politici e militari fascisti oramai ininfluenti. L’Italia è nel mezzo di una guerra civile nell’area controllata dei tedeschi e i fascisti sono diventati i loro burattini.

Infine lo stesso Hitler ordina la rappresaglia. Devono morire 10 italiani per ogni tedesco ucciso. Kappler e i rappresentanti fascisti devono trovare 320 persone d’ammazzare e allo stesso riluttante Kappler viene dato l’ordine di organizzare l’esecuzione. Sceglie le grotte di una cava di tufo abbandonata sulla Via Ardeatina, vicino all’inizio dell’Appia antica, una zona che verrà chiamata le Fosse Ardeatine.

Dopo la guerra, un memoriale viene eretto sul posto del massacro, e Kappler spenderà il resto dei suoi giorni nel carcere militare di Gaeta.
- Carlo Mignani

English Version

The movie “Massacre in Rome” (Rappresaglia) recreates an event of March 23, 1944 during the German occupation of the capital in the middle of WWII. Marcello Mastroianni is Padre Antonelli, a priest specialized in art restoration. Richard Burton is Colonel Herbert Kappler, in charge of the city and, among other things, involved in shipping Italian works of art to Germany.

On the 25th anniversary of the founding of Fascism, some students of Padre Antonelli together with some partisans carry out an attack in Via Rasella causing the death of 32 German soldiers.

Consultations between Rome and Berlin are immediately underway to decide the countermeasures to adopt. It is interesting to note how the German officers, listening to the BBC, are aware of the progress of the allied forces and of the worsening of their military situation. Fearful of future retaliation, they decide to have a more moderate attitude toward the captured partisans.

Remarkable is also the reconstruction of the consultations among the German representatives, the Vatican that wants to protect the city from further suffering, and the political and military Fascist representatives who by now count very little. Italy is in the middle of a civil war in the area controlled by the Germans, and the Fascists have become their puppet.

Finally Hitler himself orders the reprisal: 10 Italians must die for every German killed. Kappler and the Fascists in charge have to find 320 persons to kill and the order to organize the execution is given to the reluctant Kappler himself. He chooses the caves of an abandoned tufo mine on the Via Ardeatina, near the beginning of the ancient Appian Way, an area that will be called forever after the Fosse Ardeatine or the Ardeatine graves. After the war, a memorial is erected on the place of the massacre and Colonel Kappler will spend the rest of his life in the military jail of Gaeta.
- Recommended by Carlo Mignani, Italian Language Film Co-Editor

Back to top


Mio fratello e’ figlio unico (My brother is an only child)

Director: Daniele Luchetti
Year: 2007
Run time:  108 min
Language: Italian (with subtitles in English)
Country: Italy

Awards: 5 David di Donatello awards including best actor for Elio Germano 
Availability: netflix.com, amazon.com

Mio fratelloDipinge la storia di un ragazzo, Accio, che, come l’ultimo arrivato in famiglia, trova difficile farsi sentire.  Il giovane cerca riconoscimento a livello familiare e sociale.

È un film storico, ambientato a Latina, cittadina vicino Roma, nel periodo turbolente a cavallo degli anni 70.  La sua ricerca in qualche cosa in cui credere veramente lo porta a provare prima il seminario, successivamente il partito fascista e poi anche quello comunista.  L’attore Luca Zingaretti, conosciuto dal pubblico americano come l’ispettore Moltabano dei gialli televisivi della RAI, fa la parte di Mario, un venditore ambulante e convinto fascista che diventa la figura paterna di Aiaccio.

Manrico ( Riccardo Scamarcio) invece è il fratello primogenito e il cocco dei genitori.  Ha la parlantina facile, piace alle ragazze, lavora in fabbrica e fa parte dei collettivi politici di sinistra che vogliono far prendere coscienza ai lavoratori dello sfruttamento a cui sono sottoposti.

Lo sfondo politico è sempre presente, ma Luchetti eccelle nel creare drammi estremamente personali.  Il regista  eleva questa famiglia dilaniata a un microcosmo dell’Italia.  Le sue tensioni sono il simbolo delle battaglie che la societa’ italiana ha sostenuto in quegli anni e le cui ferite stanno ancora oggi rimarginandosi.

Questi ragazzi volevano credere in qualche cosa; molti sono maturati, altri sono rimasti delusi e amareggiati dallo scontro degli ideali con la realta’.  Alcuni infine  sono stati risucchiati dall’estremismo e ne hanno pagato il prezzo personalmente anche con la propria vita.
- Suggerito da Carlo Mignani, Italian Film Review Co-Editor

English version

It depicts the story of a kid Accio (Elio Germano), who as the last of 3 children finds it difficult to have his voice heard.  The youngster is looking for recognition at a family and social level.

It is an historical movie set in Latina, a small town near Rome in the turbulent period of the 60’s and 70’s.  His search for something to really believe in brings  him to try first the seminary, then the Fascist party and later also the Communist party.  The actor Luca Zingaretti, known by the American public as the Inspector Montalbano of the the RAI television mystery, plays Mario, a street vendor, convinced fascist, who becomes the paternal figure of Accio.

The brother, Manrico (Riccardo Scamarcio), instead is the first born and the favorite son.  A smooth talker, he is liked by the girls, works in the local factory and organizes leftist political groups to promote awareness of the workers against exploitation.

The political background is always present, however Luchetti excels in creating extremely personal dramas.  The filmmaker elevates this pulled-apart family to a microcosm of Italy.  Its tensions  represent the battles that the Italian society fought in those years and whose wounds are still now healing.

The youth of that period wanted to believe in something; many matured, others have been disappointed and bitter from the clash between ideals and reality.  Some have been sucked in by extreme belief and they paid the price personally even with their lives.
- Recommended by Carlo Mignani, Culture Club Italian Film Review Co-Editor

Back to top


 

La Finestra di Fronte (Facing Windows), 2004

Director: Ferzan Ozpetek
Run Time: 106 minutes
Language: Italian
Country: Italy, Turkey, Portugal, UK
Available from amazon.com and netflix 

FinestraGiovanna and her husband Filippo are leading a humdrum existence, not finding pleasure in each other or in their jobs. Then one evening they meet an elderly man on the street who is suffering from amnesia and decide to take him home with the intention of notifying the police the following day. He is a Holocaust survivor and, as the days go by, they become more and more intrigued with his occasional flashbacks to 1943. At the same time Giovanna falls in love with Lorenzo, her neighbor whose window faces hers. When he is transferred to another city, she has to decide whether to run off with him. This film presents a gripping drama on many levels.
- Recommended by Christine Foster Meloni, Culture Club Editor 

 

Back to top


Il Postino (The Postman), 1994

Director: Michael Radford
Leading Actor: Massimo Troisi
Language: Italian
Run time: 108 minutes
Awards: Oscar nomination for best actor, picture, director. Other 21 wins and 10 nominations worldwide
Availability: amazon.com, netflix


Italian version

Il postinoLa scena iniziale mostra Mario Ruoppolo (Massimo Troisi) mentre legge una lettera di parenti dall’America al padre che sta cenando in assoluto silenzio. Il figlio cerca anche di coinvolgerlo nella conversazione, ma “Va in America, va in Giappone, ma fai qualche cosa” sono le sole parole che il padre pronuncia. Non abbiamo già’ sentito questo stesso tipo di conversazione tra genitori e figli di tutto il mondo? A Mario la richiesta del padre sembra ragionevole, ma su questa piccola isola il solo lavoro disponibile è quello di pescatore e lui non lo sopporta, si sente male solo all’idea di doverlo fare. Accetta quindi il lavoro di postino anche se sa che dovra’ portare la posta ad un solo cliente.
Il regista inglese, Michael Radford, ambienta il film a Salina, una delle isole Eolie non lontana dalle coste della Sicilia intorno al 1950, dove il famoso poeta cileno Paolo Neruda (Philippe Noiret) era stato esiliato per le sue idee comuniste. In realtà’ il poeta era stato esiliato a Capri. Oggigiorno Salina è una meta turistica, ma in quel tempo la vita della popolazione locale, in gran parte analfabeta, era dura ed essenziale, come lo era stata nei secoli precedenti.

Portando la posta in bicicletta in una casa su una collina a questo cliente importante, Mario non può fare a meno di notare che le lettere sono tutte di donne. Incuriosito, cerca di fare conoscenza con il poeta per provare a capirne il segreto. Inizialmente si è portati a pensare che un abisso culturale separi i due uomini. Invece con l’aiuto di Neruda, l’anima sensibile del postino si apre alla poesia, la comprende e la vive profondamente e questo lo fa legare al poeta in un rapporto affettivo e sincero. Piacevole il risvolto romantico perche’ i versi poetici lo aiutano a conquistare il cuore della bella Beatrice (Maria Grazia Cucinotta) che serve clienti alla taverna locale.

Particolarmente divertenti sono le scene quando la zia di Beatrice va a lamentarsi col poeta che ” Le parole sono pericolose....... tu stai facendo scaldare mia nipote e sarai sparato.”

Magistrale è il modo in cui il comico Troisi parla, creando sfumature nel linguaggio con la sua voce intermittente, che dice, ma più spesso suggerisce significati, assieme alle sue espressioni e ai suoi gesti. In modo naturale Mario mostra una forma di poesia tutta sua. Quest’attore italiano, scrittore, e regista aveva posticipato un’operazione al cuore per finire questo film, mori’ subito dopo aver filmato le scene principali.

English version

The initial scene shows Mario Ruoppolo (Massimo Troisi) reading a letter from American relatives to his father who is eating his dinner in absolute silence. The son is trying also to engage him in the conversation but “Go to America, go to Japan, but do something” are the only words the older man pronounces. Didn’t we hear the same thing before from parents all over the world? To Mario the father’s request seems reasonable, but on this small island the only jobs available are that of fisherman, which he can’t stand; he becomes physically sick only thinking about it. So he gets the job of mailman to deliver to only one customer.
English director Michael Radford set the movie on Salina, one of the Aeolian islands off the coast of Sicily around 1950, where the famous Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda (Philippe Noiret), has been exiled for his communist views. In real life the poet was exiled on Capri off the cost of Naples. Today Salina is a tourist destination, but at the time life was hard and essential, the way has been for centuries, among the mostly illiterate inhabitants.
Delivering mail on a bicycle to a home on top of the hill to this important customer, Mario can’t avoid noticing that all the letters are from women. Intrigued, he connects with the poet and tries to pick his brain. Initially one would think that a cultural abyss separates the two men. Instead with the help of Neruda the sensitive soul of the mailman develops an appreciation for poetry, he understands it and feels it deeply and has a genuine connection with him. Most importantly poetry helps him win the heart of the beautiful Beatrice (Maria Grazia Cucinotta) who serves clients at the local tavern.

Particularly hilarious are the scenes when Beatrice’s aunt goes complaining to Neruda that “words are dangerous ... you are making my niece warm up and you will be shot”
Masterful the way the comedian Troisi speaks, creating speech tones of the language with his intermittent voice that says, but often suggests, meanings, together with his body expressions and gestures. Mario naturally was displaying a form of poetry of his own. This Italian actor, writer and director, postponed his heart operation to finish this movie, died at 41 right after the main photography was shot.
Recommended by Carlo Mignani, Italian Language Film Editor

Back to top


Giorni e Nuvole (Days and Clouds, 2007)

Director : Silvio Soldini
Language: Italian with English subtitles
Run time: 115 minutes
Available from Netflix
Awards: David di Donatello 2008; Best Actress Margherita Buy; Best Supporting Actress Alba Rohrwacher


Italian version

GiorniIl film esplora la fragilità delle relazioni matrimoniali quando sottoposte agli stress ed alle incertezze dell’economia globale. Oggigiorno quasi ognuno di noi si può trovare da un momento all’altro senza lavoro. Come reagiresti?

La storia si sviluppa nella città di Genova, ma potrebbe essere ambientata in qualsiasi altra città di un paese avanzato durante questo difficile periodo.

Michele (Antonio Albanese) non è capace di adattarsi alle nuove condizioni di mercato nella sua industria e viene licenziato dal suo partner dopo una collaborazione di 20 anni. Esce ogni mattina per passare la giornata sulla sua barca, sperpera inutilmente soldi per la moglie, ma non riesce ad affrontare la situazione direttamente: dirglielo e insieme fare un piano e andare avanti. È un film sul cambiamento, come affrontarlo, abbracciarlo o esserne paralizzato.

A 50 anni se sei licenziato è difficile trovare un lavoro equivalente e questa condizione è resa ancora più difficile in Italia dove i ruoli possono essere più tradizionali e l’economia meno robusta di quella negli USA. Anche dopo aver ottenuto una specializzazione in arte, Elisa (Marguerite Buy) è costretta a rinunciare al suo lavoro (non pagato) di restauro di affreschi e ottiene due lavori, come telemarketer e come segretaria serale. Vendono tutto quello che hanno tuttavia non riescono a mantenere la vita sociale di prima.

Antonio prova diverse attività, ma il suo ego è cosi’assorbito dal suo vecchio e comodo lavoro che ne è profondamente scosso. Il suo orgoglio ferito sottopone la relazione a stress tremendi. Segue una relazione extraconiugale. Sarà il matrimonio in grado di sopravvivere?

English version

The movie explores the fragility of marital relationships under the stresses and uncertainties of the global economy. Today virtually every one of us can be on short notice without a job. How would you react?

The plot develops in the seaport of Genoa but it could have been set in any city of an advanced country during these arduous economic times.

Michele (Antonio Albanese) is incapable of adapting to the new market environment and is ousted by his business partner of 20 years. He goes out every morning to his boat, still squanders lavishly on his wife but he is ashamed to confront the situation squarely: tell her, make a plan and together move forward. It is a movie about change, how to cope, embrace or get paralyzed by it.

At 50, it is difficult to get back in the game, and the predicament is magnified in Italy where the roles can be more traditional and the economy less robust than in the US. Having recently achieved her advanced art degree, nevertheless Elisa (Marguerite Buy) gives up her unpaid work restoring centuries’ old frescoes and takes two jobs, as a telemarketer and evening secretary. They sell all they have but still they can’t maintain their old social life.

Antonio tries different endeavors but his ego is so wrapped up with his old comfortable job, that he is deeply shaken. His wounded pride puts a tremendous strain on the marriage. An affair follows. Will their marriage survive?
- Recommended by Carlo Mignani, Italian Language Film Editor

Back to top


Il Divo: La straordinaria vita di Giulio Andreotti (The Star: The extraordinary life of Giulio Andreotti)

Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Run time:  110 minutes
Language: Italian (with subtitles in English)
Country: Italy
Awards: Cannes Film Festival 2008 Jury Award; European Film Award 2008; Italian Oscar for best actor Toni Servillo; Venice film festival Premio alla Creativita'
Availability: Not available in US DVD yet, but available in PAL format

Il DivoIl Divo di Paolo Sorrentino descrive la storia politica di Giulio Andreotti dal 1991 al 1993, l’inizio del maxiprocesso contro la mafia a Palermo.  Un film assolutamente da vedere per chi ama la cultura italiana e la politica, in quanto permette di valutare diversamente anche aspetti della politica USA.  Questo freddo, ambiguo e calcolatore personaggio19 volte ministro e 7 volte primo ministro, stando al centro della politica italiana per quasi mezzo secolo, ha accumulato un archivio segreto di 3 stanze.

Chiamato secondo le occasioni, “il principe delle tenebre,” “il gobbo,” “la volpe,” e naturalmente “il divo” dal latino “il divus Jiulius” un soprannome usato per descrivere Giulio Cesare, ha 91 anni ed è senatore a vita.  Il film comincia con una carrellata di omicidi, apparentemente sconnessi, scanditi dalla musica di Toop Toop dei Cassius.

Il regista non si è impantanato nella storia, ma si è fatto guidare dal suo senso artistico, la sua particolare visione e dalla tragicita’ degli eventi.

Fatti accertati:

  1. Accusato, portato in processo e condannato per “concreta e duratura collaborazione mafiosa” con sentenza del 2 maggio 2003, ma assolto dalla corte d’appello perché il reato è caduto in prescrizione.
  2. Processato per essere il mandante dell’omicidio di Pecorelli. un giornalista che aveva cominciato a pubblicare articoli denunciando le connessione politiche sullo scandalo del petrolio mirando direttamente ad Andreotti. Condannato a 24 anni il 17 novembre 2002.  Assolto in appello.
  3. Diversi giornalisti e docenti universitari lo hanno pubblicamente accusato di essere il mandante dell’assassinio del banchiere Sindona, che riciclava i soldi della mafia con la banca vaticana IOR, morto avvelenato in carcere.  Nel processo di appello non avendo più nulla da perdere avrebbe potuto rivelare i rapporti tra i politici italiani, la mafia e l’organizzazione segreta P2.

 

La prima parte del film da un’idea della faziosita’ della politica italiana mentre Andreotti fallisce nel tentativo di conquistare le meta più ambita, la presidenza, a causa dello scandalo in seguito all’uccisione dell’integerrimo giudice Giovanni Falcone e di Salvio Lima, suo rappresentante, in Sicilia.  La seconda parte, tramite l’uso di magistrali flashbacks tratta direttamente dei suoi rapporti con la mafia.

Il film Il Divo da un volto al mandante di una lunga serie di misteriosi omicidi e suicidi. Il personaggio ha una faccia da poker, è estremamente controllato, e pare privo di reazioni emotive.  E’ l’anti- italiano ovvero una personalita’ “anale” in termini psicologici.  Soffre di insonnia ed emicrania al punto da sottoporsi ad agopuntura.  Surreali sono le scene quando trascina polizia e servizi segreti per i vicoli di Roma, nel cuore della notte, durante le sue solitarie passeggiate notturne.

“Non credo al caso, ma alla volonta’ di Dio” pronuncia più volte con voce stranamente appassionante.  Rappresenta l’ambivalenza del potere nella tensione tra bene e male. In uno dei suoi rari sfoghi ammette con la moglie: “Non hanno idea delle malefatte che il potere deve commettere per assicurare lo sviluppo del paese!  Abbiamo un mandato, noi.  Un mandato divino.  Bisogna amare cosi’ tanto Dio per capire quanto sia necessario il male per avere il bene.  Questo Dio lo sa e lo so anche io.” 

12 dicembre 1969, Milano.  A Piazza Fontana nella Banca Nazionale dell’Agricoltura scoppia una bomba, 17 morti, 88 feriti.  Altri 4 attentati terroristici ci susseguono nello stesso giorno a Roma e Milano.
2 agosto 1980.  Strage di Bologna, 85 morti, più di 200 feriti.
I colpevoli sono rimasti ignoti.

Per lunghi periodi in Italia scoppiavano 1 o 2 bombe a settimana.  Questo stato nazionale di timore e insicurezza, battezzato “la strategia della tensione,” veniva elevato puntualmente prima delle elezioni.  Cio’ ha prodotto ripetutamente uno spostamento a destra dell’elettorato, favorendo la DC, il partito di Andreotti, e mantenendolo al potere: la gente pretendeva “law and order.” 
- Recommended by Carlo Mignani, Italian Film Review Editor

Back to top


The Mandrake Root, 2008

Director: Malachi Bogdanov
Writer of screenplay: Malachi Bogdanov
Run Time: 75 minutes
Language: English with some Italian
Availability: blockbuster.com

In 1518 Niccolò Machiavelli wrote the comedy La Mandragola. Now a small British production company, the European Drama Network, has produced a version in English filmed on the island of Sardinia. The main character, a young man who has just returned home after studying for a few years in Paris, tries to find a way to sleep with a beautiful young woman who is married to an ugly old man. The plot, of course, is far fetched but it is nevertheless highly amusing, along the lines of the comedies of Plautus and Terence in ancient Rome.
-Recommended by Christine Foster Meloni, Culture Club Editor

Back to top


Verso Sera (Towards Evening), 1991

Language: Italian
Country: Italy, France
Run time: 99 minutes
Cast: Marcello Mastroianni (Professor Bruschi), Giorgio Tirabassi (Oliviero) Sandrine Bonnaire (Stella), Lara Pranzoni (Papere)

Verso SeraMarcello Mastroianni stars in this moving film as Professor Bruschi, an elderly professor whose life is just the way he wants it. Suddenly his life spins out of control. His son Oliviero drops his daughter Papere on his father’s doorstep and disappears. After a short time, Papere’s mother Stella too unexpectedly ends up on Bruschi’s doorstep. Bruschi and Stella do not get along at all as they have conflicting ideologies. However, they gradually begin to understand and appreciate each other and develop real affection for each other.
- Recommended by Christine Foster Meloni, Culture Club Editor

Back to top


Mafioso, 1962

Director: Alberto Lattuada
Run time: 105 minutes
Language: Italian
Cast: Alberto Sordi, Norma Bengell, Ugo Atanasio
Distributor: Rialto Pictures
Available from netflix.com and amazon.com
(This film was re-released in the US in 2007.)

MafiosoPer un film è un titolo senza eufemismo. Perciò, si è, in un certo senso, preparati per il soggetto. Il titolo avrebbe potuto anche essere “La Piovra” che arriva ovunque con i suoi lunghi tentacoli. Nino, un giovane siciliano, sposato con due figlie, dopo anni di servizio in una grande fabbrica del nord, riesce ad avere una vacanza per tornare in Sicilia con la famiglia. Inconsapevolmente lui è un anello (soldato) della Mafia. Il presidente della fabbrica è l’anello italo-americano. Don Vincenzo, che aveva fatto assumere Nino, è l’anello della Mafia nel suo paese. Nino ha avuto un favore da Don Vincenzo. Nelle regole della Mafia un favore va ricambiato con un altro favore. Il favore in questo caso è ..... (Stop! Non possiamo dire qui!). Nino, pur anche con la coscienza riluttante, deve eseguire l’ordine. Questa è la legge della Mafia che si tramanda da generazione a generazione. Il film è interessante non solo per la luce concentrata sulla Mafia ma anche sulle difference fra i costumi del Nord e del Sud. In un primo momento la moglie milanese e i parenti siciliani di Nino non riescono a capirsi per via delle grandi differenze di lingua, di abbigliamento, di pensieri, di mangiare, etc.
- Suggerito da Andrea Meloni

Back to top


Grande Strada Azzurra (The Wide Blue Road), 1957

Directors: Gillo Pontecorvo and Maleno Malenotti
Run time: 1 hour 39 minutes
Language: Italian
Italian-French co-production
Cast: Yves Montand and Alida Valli
Available from netflix.com and amazon.com

Grande StradaYves Montand plays Squarciò, a fisherman in a small Italian village, who struggles to make a living in a rather unorthodox and unpopular way. He takes his boat far from the shore and the other fishermen who use nets and drops his homemade bombs into the water. When the fish float to the surface, his two young sons quickly jump in and stuff the fish into bags. What he is doing is clearly illegal but he is tolerated by his community. However, the situation changes dramatically when a new Coast Guard captain comes to town. This outsider is determined to catch Squarciò in the act so that he can arrest him and send him to prison.
- Recommended by Christine Foster Meloni, Culture Club Editor

Back to top

 


Deserto dei Tartari (Desert of the Tartars), 1976

Director: Valerio Zurlini

Run Time: 140 minutes

Languages: Italian, French, English

Cast: Vittorio Gassman, Giuliano Gemma, Helmut Griem, Philippe Noiret, Jacque Perrin, Fernando Rey, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Max von Sydow

Available from netflix.com and amazon.com

 

Deserto dei TartariAlthough it has a remarkable star-studded cast,  this is definitely a strange film, very surreal, and is not for everyone. Based on a novel by Italian Dino Buzzati, it is the story of Lieutenant Drogo who, after eagerly awaiting his first military assignment, is sent to a fortress on the borders of a desert in the middle of nowhere. The mission of the soldiers in this fortress is to prevent an attack by the Tartars. No one has ever seen the Tartars. Some expect them to arrive at any minute while others don’t believe they will ever arrive. Their life borders on boring but there is great tension among some of the soldiers who are anxious to advance their careers. But is it possible in this god-forsaken place? Will they ever live long enough to leave the fortress to go on to a bigger and better assignment? Does anyone remember that they are here?

- Recommended by Christine Foster Meloni, Culture Club Editor

Back to top

 


Luce Dei Miei Occhi (Light of My Eyes), 2001

Director: Giuseppe Piccioni
Run Time: 113 minutes
Language: Italian
Cast: Luigi Lo Cascio, Sandra Ceccarelli, Silvio Orlando
Available from netflix.com and amazon.com

Luce Dei Miei OcchiThis romantic story takes place in Rome where Antonio, a lonely chauffeur, meets Maria, a beautiful single mother, who has numerous problems. He becomes involved in her world and tries to solve her problems. As a result, both of their lives are enriched.

- Recommended by Christine Foster Meloni, Culture Club Editor

 

Back to top

 

 

 


Le Amiche (Girl Friends), 1955

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Cast: Eleonora Rossi-Drago
Run Time: 104 minutes
Language: Italian

This film is based on the short story, "Tra donne sole," by Cesare Pavese. A native of Turin, Clelia goes to Rome to seek her fortune and she succeeds in obtaining an excellent job in the Italian fashion industry. When her employer decides to open a fashion salon in Turin, Clelia is chosen to manage it. The film focuses on Clelia and the new women friends she makes when she returns to her native city. It is interesting to view a film produced in the 1950s through the lens of feminism in the 21st century.
- Recommended by Christine Meloni, Culture Club Editor

Back to top


Notti Bianche (White Nights), 1957

Director: Luchino Visconti
Cast: Marcello Mastroianni, Maria Schell
Run Time: 101 minutes
Language: Italian

This film is based on White Nights, a novel by Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Mario (played by Marcello Mastroianni) falls hopelessly in love with Natalia (Maria Schell) who is in love with a man who has disappeared. Mario tries to court her as she waits for her lover to return. It is a classic story of unrequited love.
- Recommended by Christine Foster Meloni, Culture Club Editor

Back to top


Un Difetto di Famiglia (Family Flaw), 2002
Director: Alberto Simone
Run Time: 108 minutes
Language: Italian

diffeto

Un Difetto di Famiglia is a beautiful film that treats the subject of homosexuality with great sensitivity. It is basically the story of two brothers who have taken distinctly separate paths in life. Nicolo (played by Lino Banfi) is a successful businessman who is preparing to celebrate his daughter’s wedding to a wealthy general. Just before the wedding takes place, his 103-year-old mother dies and the wedding has to be postponed. The mother’s final wishes as set forth in her will force Nicolo to travel with his estranged gay brother (Nino Manfredi) to her final resting place in the south of Italy. It is heart-warming to watch the dramatic change in the life of the narrow-minded Nicolo.
- Recommended by Christine Foster Meloni, Culture Club Editor

Back to top


La Scorta
Director: Ricky Tognazzi 1994
Run Time: 92 minutes Italy

See English review below

Un famoso giudice viene assassinato a Trapani in Sicilia. Quattro poliziotti sono scelti per fare la scorta al nuovo giudice. Essi accettano questo nuovo incarico molto malvolentieri. Presto la scorta e il giudice cominciano a ricevere minacce di morte; la loro lealta e il loro impegno sono messi a dura prova . Questo film è basato su una storia vera.

English
A famous judge is murdered in the Sicilian town of Trapani. Four policemen are assigned to be the bodyguards of the judge who takes the murdered judge’s place. They take on their new assignment reluctantly. Soon the bodyguards and the judge begin to receive death threats, and their solidarity and resolve are severely tested. This exciting film is based on a true story.
- Recommended by Christine Foster Meloni, Culture Club Editor

Back to top


La Vita è Bella
Regista: Roberto Benigni (1997)
Run time: 114 minutes

See review in English below

Benigni è diventato un personaggio noto in America grazie allo successo di questo film personale, originale e audace, che ha scritto e diretto e in cui si presenta in divo con sua moglie reale, Nicoletta Braschi. Il film è una riaffermazione della vita in confronto all'inumanità, l'umiliazione, la solitudine, il desiderio impossibile, la sofferenza e la morte. Il protagonista è una figura tipo Charlie Chaplin (Guido Orefice) che usa l'umore di farsa grossolana a deridere e a parodiare la brutalità, il razzismo e la crudeltà dei Nazisti e i Fascisti, con l'aiuto dello zio, interpretato da Giustino Durano e l'amico Ferruccio (Sergio Bustric) che servono da contrappesi alle sue buffonerie. Nella seconda parte del film, Guido difende coraggiosamente sua moglie Dora (che l'accompagna in esilio benché gentile) e innanzitutto suo figlio Giosué (Giorgio Cantarini) dagli orrori del campo di concentrazione.

Benigni si è fatto criticare severamente d'aver preso alla leggiera il genocidio degli Ebrei, ma altri critici cinematografici affermano che lui ha dato al pubblico generale di spettatori accesso agli orrori dei campi di morte in modi personali che loro non hanno mai avuto prima, neanche col film Schindler's List. Benigni come cameriere a un ricevimento elegante libera la sua sposa futura, la "principessa," su un cavallo dipinto "ebraico," convertendo barriere sociali e pregiudizi in una favola. Hanno un figlio e trovano felicità, fino al periodo in cui i Nazisti e i Fascisti li perseguono cinque anni più tardi. Guido incontra le leggi antisemitiche e perfino la sua deportazione con incredulità, anzi accentando l'enormità iperreale e assurda di questi avvenimenti storici. La discontinuità iperreale e la disorientazione della sua esperienza si rivelano perfettamente nel personaggio del Dottor Lessing (Horst Buchholz) e i suoi indovinelli. Guido convertisce il campo di concentrazione in un gioco barocco per suo figlio, che finge di parteciparci mentre dubita di suo padre, nascondendosi dai Nazisti e alla fine trovando il premio promesso, il carro alleato che invade e libera il campo. La riunione finale con sua madre dopo la morte del padre riafferma la vita; Giosué è un figlio di Mosè, un eroe che menerà il suo popolo e abbatterà le mura del nemico.

English Review
Benigni has become a household word in America thanks to the success of this very personal and daring film, which he wrote and directed and stars in with his wife, Nicoletta Braschi. It is a reaffirmation of life in the face of inhumanity, humiliation, loneliness, longing, suffering and death. The hero is a Chaplinesque figure (Guido Orefice) who first displays slapstick humor mocking and parodying the brutality, racism and cruelty of the Nazis and Fascists (his uncle played by Giustino Durano and his sidekick Ferruccio played by Sergio Bustric are foils for his antics). In the second part of the film, Guido bravely defends his wife Dora (who goes along although a gentile) and especially his son Giosué (Giorgio Cantarini) from the horrors of the death camps.

Benigni has been severely criticized for making light of the plight of the Jews, but other viewers feel that he has given wide audiences access to the horrors of the death camps in personal ways they never had, even with Schindler's List. Benigni as a waiter at an elegant engagement party steals his future bride, the "principessa," away on a painted horse, converting social barriers and prejudices to a fairy tale. They have a son and find happiness, until the Nazis and Fascists close in on them five years later. Benigni encounters the antisemitic laws and even his deportation with disbelief, emphasizing the surreal enormity of those historic events. The surrealistic discontinuity and bewilderment of his experience are captured in the character of Dr. Lessing, played by Horst Buchholz. Guido turns prison camp into an elaborate game for his son, who goes along with it while doubting his father, hiding from the Nazis and at the end finding his promised prize, the allied tank which invades and liberates the camp. The final reunion with his mother after the death of his father reaffirms life; Giosué is a son of Moses, a Joshua who will lead his people and bring down the walls.
- Recommended by Rebecca Pauly, Italian Language Film Review Editor

Back to top


Amarcord (1973)
Director: Federico Fellini
Run time: 127 minutes

This classic Fellini masterpiece blends personal nostalgia of adolescence, quixotic events of family and village, against the backdrop of pre World War II fascist Italy. Perhaps, along with I Vitelloni, the most neorealist of Fellini’s films (most of which are oniric and subjective), Amarcord achieves the balance between black humor, comic absurdity, parody and caricature, and the painful heartstopping experiences of life, rites of passage which are archetypal. At the same time, the film is a very distinct portrait of a time and place. Amarcord, a semiautobiographical episodic drama, examines life in a small Adriatic village during Mussolini’s early reign in the 1930s. As the weather changes and spring arrives, the village holds a festival in which it burns a symbolic bonfire and celebrates new life. This gathering in the central square is the first of many others throughout the film. Each time the community assembles, its colorful members show themselves in full force, boasting their bizarre, disjointed personalities--and pure mischief is the result. Several of the village ladies wear their eyebrows penciled on in high, provocative arches, a style that seethes sex and drama, coaxing the camera to follow them. The film takes on a circusy, chaotic tone, making it difficult to see a clear plot structure; Amarcord instead breaks up into several memorably surreal sequences, a few of which follow a young man named Titta (Bruno Zanin) who wanders in and out of the animated provincial landscape, meeting assorted crazy characters and obsessing over sex. The beautiful clashes with the grotesque and politics and family matters blend together while sex is offset by violence in the inimitable style of Italy’s late master of cinema whose tour de force won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
- Recommended by Rebecca Pauly

Back to top


Caro Diario (Dear Diary) - 1995
Director: Nanni Moretti
Run time: 100 minutes.

Nanni Moretti produced and stars in Caro Diario, a charming film with three autobiographical vignettes. This film is a must for anyone who likes Nanni Moretti and/or who loves the city of Rome. In the first vignette "On My Vespa" Moretti takes us on a marvelous tour of Rome, visiting his friends and favorite neighborhoods. In the second, "Islands", Moretti and a friend go in search of an island where Moretti can find peace and quiet in order to write. They are unsuccessful as they visit beautiful islands in the southern part of Italy. In the final vignette, Moretti demonstrates his frustration with doctors and medical treatments as he tries to find out what his strange illness is. While the themes of this film are serious, Moretti's compassion and humor are always visible.
-Recommended by Christine Meloni

Back to top


Cristo Si É Fermato A Eboli (Christ Stopped At Eboli) - 1979
Director: Francesco Rosi
Run time: 120 minutes

The leftist filmmaker Franco Rosi worked for years to make this adaptation of Carlo Levi's autobiographic novel, finally released for Italian television. It is Levi's story of his enforced exile in 1935-36 from Torino to Galiano in Lucania, the culture shock of a northern leftist intellectual artist doctor transplanted to a forgotten crumbling southern village full of ignorant superstitions and petty ambitions fueled by Fascists like the mayor Luigi Magalone. Levi, played by Gian Maria Volont�, provides food and art lessons for the town's children, companionship for the drunken exiled priest and for the locals at the caf�, and finally medical care, although he has never had his own practice. A visit from his sophisticated doctor sister punctuates his exile, as does the companionship of a stray dog Barone. When Mussolini conquers Ethiopia, he releases the political prisoners in a gesture of magnanimity and Levi is sent home, carrying images and memories of the town that "Christ never redeemed". This film can be found in most major video rental stores.
- Recommended by Rebecca Pauly

Back to top


I Vitelloni (The Layabouts) - 1953
Director: Federico Fellini
Run time: 104 minutes

This classic Italian film sensitively portrays the lives of five young men who are very dissatisfied with life in their small town on the Adriatic Sea. Unfortunately, as the title suggests, they lack the motivation and drive to look for gainful employment, and instead, spend their time engaging in idle - and not always honest - activities. This was one of the early films of Alberto Sordi who went on to become one of the most beloved actors in Italy.
-Recommended by Andrea Meloni

Back to top


Il Conformista (The Conformist) - 1970
Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Run time: 115 minutes

Bernardo Bertolucci ( 1900, The Last Emperor, Little Buddha, Last Tango in Paris, Stealing Beauty ) adapted Alberto Moravia’s novel to the screen, starring Jean-Louis Trintignant as Marcello Clerici, the haunted and reluctant Fascist assassin; Stefania Sandrelli as Giulia, his bourgeois wife whose vapid manners conceal considerable depth and even depravity; Dominique Sanda as Anna Quadri, the capricious wife of Clerici’s dissertation director; Luca Quadri, a leftist intellectual who has retreated to Paris for his safety and to direct his campaign against the Fascists. This fragmented film, brilliantly photographed in modernist tonalities and patternings by Vittorio Storaro, begins in 1938 with Clerici and the thug Manganiello pursuing the Quadris to their death, then flashes back some 10 or 12 times to earlier periods: Clerici at work at the radio station with his blind friend Italo; Clerici with his insane father; Clerici’s mother with their oriental chauffeur supplying her drugs; Clerici as a child molested by their pederast chauffeur Lino whom he shoots in confusion; Clerici courting Giulia meeting her mother and going to confession. On their honeymoon to Paris they make contact as planned with the Quadris, dancing and drinking together and both becoming sexually involved with Anna. Clerici agonizes over his assignment to kill both Quadris and sits helpless as a spectator as the thugs dispatch them. Five years later in 1943 at the fall of Mussolini, Clerici returns to the streets of Rome with Italo, now repudiating Fascism in his lifelong search for normalcy, but discovering Lino in the gutter, still alive, leaving a closing portrait of moral confusion and ambiguity.
- Recommended by Rebecca Pauly

Back to top


Il Giardino Dei Finzi-Contini (The Garden Of The Finzi-Contini) -1970
Director: Vittorio De Sica
Run time: 94 minutes

DeSica adapts Giorgio Bassani’s novel of the persecution of the Jews in Ferrara from 1938 to 1943, featuring the wealthy Finzi-Contini family, their children Micol (Dominique Sanda) and Alberto, and other family friends including Giorgio and his brother Ernesto. The persecution of the Jews is slow but certain: first they are evicted from the tennis club and retreat to the Finzi-Continis’ private court in their Eden-like garden. Then Giorgio is told that he can no longer go to the university; he is thrown out of the public library and must resort to the private library of the Finzi-Contini family. Alberto’s fatal illness, his decline, death, and funeral represent that of all his people. While in France, Giorgio’s brother Ernesto meets people who have been in the fabled death camps (Dachau); the nightmare is real indeed, and at the end the two families are rounded up at Micol's old elementary school and sent off separated to their fates. Giorgio, of course, escaped to write the novel The film ends with a Jewish lament sung as the camera pans across the city, emphasizing the number of victims, a memorial tribute to all those who suffered and were lost. This popular film is easily found in video stores throughout the United States.
- Recommended by Rebecca Pauly

Back to top


Io Non Ho Paura (I’m Not Afraid) - 2004
Director: Gabriele Salvatores
Run time: 108 minutes

This beautiful film is based on the novel of the same name by Niccoló Ammaniti. It is the story of Michele, a ten-year-old boy who lives in a village in southern Italy and who makes a surprising discovery. While playing in the fields one day, he discovers a hole that leads to an underground cave. In this cave he finds a boy his own age in chains. This little prisoner is hungry, dirty, and losing his mind. Michele begins to bring him food and tries to comfort him. He soon discovers that this boy has been kidnapped and that one of the kidnappers is Michele’s own father. The lives of both children are in danger. Michele matures quickly as he must make some crucial decisions. The ending of the film is dramatic.
- Recommended by Christine Foster Meloni

Back to top


Mediterraneo (Mediterranean) - 1991
Director: Gabriele Salvatores
Run time: 96 minutes

This film is a charming escapist tale of a small reconnaissance team of Fascist soldiers sent ashore during World War II to stay for four months on Mighisti in the Greek islands, which were occupied, by the Germans and Italians. While ashore, their ship is sunk by the English, and they are marooned for three years, like Ulysses in Homer’s Odyssey. The characters are very distinctive: the poetic lieutenant Raffaele Montini (Claudio Bigagli) who paints, the rough sergeant Nicola LoRusso (Diego Abatantuono) and his adoring buddy Luciano Colasanti (Ugo Conti), the shy Antonio Farina (Giuseppe Cederna), the beautiful prostitute Vassilissa (Vanna Barba), the peasant brothers Libero and Felice Munaron (Memo Dini and Vasco Mirandola) who find happiness with a shepherdess (Irene Grazioli), the lonely husband Corrado Noventa (Claudio Bisio) desperate to return home, the lowly peasant Eliseo Strazzabosco (Gigio Alberti) and his beloved donkey Silvana, the orthodox local priest, and Aziz, the Turkish smuggler. The soldiers make fools of themselves generally, revealing their humanity and their vulnerability at every occasion, but they also build lasting beauty in their relationships and find something they never knew existed.
- Recommended by Rebecca Pauly

Back to top


Roma Citta Aperta (Open City)- 1945
Director: Roberto Rossellini
Run time: 100 minutes

This film stars Aldo Fabrizio and Anna Magnani, along with many unknown nonprofessional actors, in a story where the partigiani or communist resistance fighters are battling the last of the Hitler’s German Nazi forces in Rome at the end of World War II, 1944. Giorgio Manfredi (alias Luigi Ferrari and later Giovanni Episcopo) is fleeing certain torture and death, helped by Don Pietro, a leftist sympathizing priest, and Francesco, an underground printer, who is engaged to the widowed Pina, who is pregnant to him, and has a son, Marcello, from a previous marriage. Marcello and his friend Romoletto have formed a gang of child terrorists who blow up a Nazi fuel truck. When the Nazis search their apartment building and take away Francesco, Pina runs after them and is shot down in the street. Her sister Laura and fellow actress Marina, Giorgio’s sometime lover, betray his whereabouts to Ingrid and Bergmann. Giorgio and Don Pietro are caught, along with an Austrian deserter, and killed, while Francesco escapes, thanks to Marcello’s gift of his mother’s scarf.
- Recommended by Rebecca Pauly

Back to top


Umberto D - 1951
Director: Vittorio De Sico
Run time: 91 minutes

DeSica and Cesare Zavattini wrote this original filmscript set in Rome and dedicated to DeSica’s father. Umberto Domenico Ferrari, a lonely, bankrupt pensioner whose best friend is his dog Flag, fights for his dignity and health as his nouveau riche landlady and her upstart fiancé attempt to evict him from his room of twenty years in her apartment. Unable to earn money or to beg, Umberto sells his watch and books in a failed attempt to raise the rent money he owes. When Umberto goes to the hospital for tonsillitis, his dog Flag disappears, and he is lucky to find him at the pound just before his execution. Unable to care for his pet, yet unwilling to abandon Flag at a kennel, Umberto tries to end both their lives.
- Recommended by Rebecca Pauly

Back to top


Malena - 2000
Run time: 92 minutes
This film was directed by Giuseppe Tornatore of Cinema Paradiso fame. It is set in 1940 in the beautiful but fictional town of Castelcuta, Sicily. The town is turned upside down when lovely Malena Scordia (Monica Bellucci) arrives to live with her father while her husband is away at war. She is admired by all of the men and hated by all of the women. 13-year-old Renato Amoroso falls hopelessly in love with her. After her husband is killed in battle, the men consider her fair game and her reputation rapidly deteriorates. Renato becomes disillusioned as, in his mind, his ideal woman turns into a prostitute. As an adult he looks back and puts his infatuation and pain into perspective. The setting is beautifully photographed and the music by composer Ennio Morricone is very powerful.
-Recommended by Christine Meloni

Back to top


Travolti da un insolito destino nell'azzuro mare d'agosto (Swept Away) - 1974
Director: Lina Wertmuller
Run time: 116 mins

This satiric and lyric film, starring Giancarlo Giannini as the southern leftist sailor Gennarino Carrunchio and Mariangela Melato as the rich northern industrialist's loudmouth wife Raffaella, has never stopped generating controversy. The idyllic setting of a Mediterranean cruise is immediately contaminated by polemic, arguing between the guests on political issues, even as they swim and lounge on board. Raffaella criticizes everything and wounds the pride of the crewmembers, especially Gennarino. When they are stranded in the Zodiac (symbol of destiny), their standoff turns to fierce animosity. Once ashore on a deserted island, Gennarino begins to affirm his revolt and dominate Raffaella, who is now helpless. Feminists railed at the extended rape sequence, where Raffaella is a symbolic target responsible for a catalogue of social injustices inflicted on the poor by her class. But her submission turns to love and reciprocal passion. The idyll is broken when they are rescued and the forces of society separate them once again.
-Recommended by Rebecca Pauly

Back to top


IT. Il fuoco su di me - 2006
Director: Lamberto Lambertini
Il fuoco di cui si parla nel titolo non è altro che il calore dell’amore. Pur essendo un film con radici storiche, il breve regno del francese Joachim Murat a Napoli, il film si impernia su tre storie d’amore. Una è quella di Murat per Napoli ed il popolo napoletano; un’altra l’amore di Murat per sua moglie (la sorella più giovane di Napoleone); e in fine l’amore di Eugenio, un giovane tenente francese, che per altro non amava la vita militare, per una bellissima giovane donna napoletana. Il fuoco di cui si parla nel titolo e’ anche il fuoco del protone di esecuzione. Questo film finisce in tragedia.
- Suggerito da Andrea Meloni

EN.Fire at my Heart - 2006
The fire mentioned in the title is the heat of love. Although the film has its roots in history, the brief reign of the French Joachim Murat in Naples, it focuses on three love stories. One is the love of Murat for Naples and the Neapolitan people; another is the love of Murat for his wife (the younger sister of Napoleon); and, finally, the love of Eugenio, a young French lieutenant who does not actually like military life, for a beautiful young Neapolitan woman. The fire in the title also refers to a firing squad. This film ends in tragedy.
- Recommended by Andrea Meloni

Back to top


IT. Respiro - 2002
Director: Emanuele Crialese
Run time: 95 minutes

Lo dice il titolo stesso. E’ la necessita di ampio respiro per gli abitanti di un’isola (Lampedusa) nel bel mezzo del Mediterraneo tra le coste del Nord Africa e del sud della Sicilia. E’ questa sensazione di isolamento che arriva a far impazzire una persona. Nel film la protagonista, una moglie con tre figli e un marito pescatore, non riesce ad adattarsi alla oppressiva vita insulare e cerca in tanti modi di evadere da questa monotonia fino a fuggire da casa per nascondersi in una grotta, aiutata in questo da uno dei figli. Ma in fine l’amore per il marito e la famiglia prevale.
Il film mette in risalto il contrasto esistente fra il paesaggio brullo, polveroso, e arido senza la minima traccia di vegetazione o alberi dell’isola ed il mare con i suoi colori splendidi che vanno dal verde smeraldo ai vari toni di blu
- Suggerito da Andrea Meloni

EN. Breathing Room (2002)
Director: Emanuele Crialese
Run time: 95 minutes

The title itself says it. It is the need for breathing room for the residents of an island (Lampedusa) right in the middle of the Mediterranean between the coasts of North Africa and southern Sicily. It is this feeling of isolation that drives a person crazy. In the film the protagonist, a woman with three children and a fisherman husband, cannot get used to the oppressive island life and she tries in many ways to escape the monotony to the point of running away from home to hide in a cave, aided in this endeavor by one of her sons. But in the end her love for her husband and her family prevails.
The film emphasizes the contrast that exists between the barren landscape that is dusty and dry with no traces of vegetation or trees and the sea with its splendid colors that go from emerald green to various tonalities of blue.
- Recommended by Andrea Meloni

Back to top


 
mailbox

If you wish to send your comments, feedback, suggestions or opinions about this column / section, please do so by sending an email to Christine.
Make sure you specify which section or column you are referring to!!! We appreciate your feedback!!!

®2009 National Capital Language Resource Center

Home | Professional Development | Newsletter | Culture Club | Contact Us | Site Map