Archive for 25 September 2008

Cinema, amore mio!

Ciao Bloggisti,

Today I was scanning CNN.com to get the scoop on McCain bailing on the campaign when lo and behold, I spotted a story that I just had to click on: Top Ten Italian Films

I’ve been an Italophile ever since I was a ragazzina and one of the things that stoked my passion was Italian cinema.  And no, it wasn’t those erotic comedies with Lino Banfi or Edwige Fenech that many a lonely teenage boy watched Saturday nights on Italcine (those of you from Toronto will know what I’m talking about). No, I’m talking about the good stuff. I’m talking about Giulietta Masina’s heartbreaking turn as Gelsomina in La Strada or the little boy holding his disgraced father’s hand at the end of The Bicycle Thief (Ladri di Biciclette). I even took two courses on Italian Cinema in my last year at McGill.  Completely self-indulgent but totally worth it! Watching those movies, which were a celebration of all that was wonderful and dreadful about il Bel Paese, made me love Italy even more and planted a little seed in my brain that ultimately led me to move here.

CNN’s Screening Room compiled a list of the top 10 Italian films with the help of Rome-based film critic Lee Marshall. He put together an interesting combination of old and new works. Here are his picks:

1. ‘La Strada’
(Federico Fellini, 1954)

“It’s about a loose couple of traveling circus performers who go around Italy juggling in the street. It’s also one of the greatest tragic love stories ever filmed.”

2.’The Conformist’
(Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970)

“A technically, aesthetically and visually rich film, it announced the arrival of Bertolucci as a major director.”

3. ‘Ossessione’
(Luchino Visconti, 1943)

“A drifter gets a job in a remote service station and starts to fall in love with the owner’s wife; the pair plot to kill him. It is considered one of the first films of the Neo-Realism movement”

4. ‘L’Avventura’
(Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960)

“A woman disappears on a Mediterranean island and is never found, which becomes a metaphor for what Antonioni thought was missing in middle-class Italian society. ”

5. ‘A Fistful of Dollars’
(Sergio Leone, 1964)

“The film that announced the Spaghetti Western to the world. It also turned Clint Eastwood’s rugged face and narrowed eyes into an icon. ”

6. ‘The Battle of Algiers’
(Gillo Pontecorvo,1966)

“One of the first films made anywhere in the world about war; there weren’t any goodies or baddies, just roving cameras following the chaotic day-to-day bomb attacks.”

7. ‘Dear Diary’
(Nanni Moretti, 1993)

“Moretti is a film maverick who first emerged in the mid-1970s, whose films are always in some way autobiographical. He’s probably, the closest thing Italy has to Woody Allen, except his films have a more political slant. ”

8. ‘Cabiria’
(Giovanni Pastrone,1914)

“The Italian ‘The Birth of a Nation’ or ‘Metropolis’ — a great silent film that defined Italian silent cinema.”

9. “The Consequences of Love’
(Paolo Sorrentino, 2004)

“One of the best Italian films of the last 10 years. It’s an interesting take on the mafia film and an alternative love story.”

10. ‘Pane, amore e fantasia’
(Luigi Comencini, 1953)

“When we think of Italy, even in a slightly cliched way — spaghetti, sun and the whole cult of love, the feisty women and the men playing lotharios — this film just embodies that vibrant life force and energy. It’s a very funny romantic comedy.”

What do you think of the films in this list?  Have you seen any new Italian films that you’ve loved/hated? What are your Top 10 Italian films?

25 September 2008 at 6:57 pm 3 comments


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