Tag Archives: italian movies

Have you ever heard about the story of a wooden puppet who is able to walk, speak, eat and whose dream is to become a real boy? Of course you did! We are talking about Pinocchio, the main character of one of the most famous Italian childrens novels, “Le avventure di Pinocchio”, written by Carlo Collodi from Firenze. Pinocchio is well-known for his nose, which grows every time he tells a lie; so well-known, in fact, that pathological liars are said to be affected by the “Pinocchio syndrome” and that Italians use to say that la bugia ti corre su per il naso (which means that you can detect a liar only looking at his/her facial expressions).

geppettoPinocchio is irresponsible, disobedient, impudent and he runs away from his “father” Geppetto as soon as he is able to walk. After leaving Geppetto, the puppet meets a lot of strange characters, popular as much as Pinocchio in the Italian culture.

Mangiafuoco (literally “fire-eater”), the master of the Great Marionette Theatre, an irascible and ugly man, large and with red hairs, who sneezes every time he moves to compassion. And if an Italian friend calls you “mangiafuoco”, start asking yourself if you are a bossy and irascible person…mangiafuoco
Il Gatto e la Volpe, (The cat and the fox) a pair of greedy cheats who lie to Pinocchio in order to rob him of his few belongings. In the Italian imagination they are icons of cunning and tricks: “essere come il gatto e la volpe” means to be inseparable… mainly to behave dishonestly. And how could we forget the Italian song “Il gatto e la volpe” by Edoarbo Bennato? Listen to it and you will learn not to trust the cat and the fox.

Il Grillo Parlante,(The talking cricket) who tries to give good advices to Pinocchio. He represents the conscience of the puppet, who continues to joke and laugh without listen to him. Do you like to invite constantly other people to behave in a good way and to be wise? Well, pay attention, you are becoming a “grillo parlante”!
La Fata Turchina, (The blue-haired fairy) a warm-hearted fairy who forgives the misbehaviour of Pinocchio and tries to help him in all ways. So if you are a kind and sympathetic woman, always ready to help others (even too much), keep calm and begin to train you patience: you friends will start soon to call you fata turchina!

pinocchio benigni
And if you want to know more about Pinocchio, you just have to choose whether reading the original fairytale or watching one of the movies based on the novel. I personally suggest “Le avventure di Pinocchio”, directed by Luigi Comencini (1972) – with an unforgettable Nino Manfredi in the role of Geppetto – and “Pinocchio”, directed by Roberto Benigni (2002).

by Alessia Accorrà, teacher@  Kappa Language school in Rome

Read more:

English pronunciation by Italian speakers

Any given Christmas in Italy

Croce e delizia, Rome and its public transportation

Zuppa Romana & Luca Toni

Cooking Italian, thou shalt not put pineapple on your pizza

Italian Pronunciation

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A summer of events and films at the Italian Cultural Institute  and Riverside studios in London, here a short list of movies you can watch this summer.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

THE HUMAN CARGO, by Daniele Vicari - Raindance Film Festival – Italian films selection

THE HUMAN CARGO, by Daniele Vicari – Raindance Film Festival – Italian films selection

In 1991, the cargo ship Vlora made port in Albania. 50,000 desperate Albanians descended on the Vlora, fleeing their Country’s oppressive regime. Around 20,000 refugees managed to get aboard setting sail to Italy. After the initial shock, a poorly organised >>>

PADRONI DI CASA – LANDLORDS, by Edoardo Gabbriellini

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

PADRONI DI CASA – LANDLORDS, by Edoardo Gabbriellini

Brothers Cosimo (Valerio Mastrandrea) and Elia (Elio Germano) work together in their own small building firm. They are hired by famous singer Fausto Mieli (Gianni Morandi) to do some works in his rural house, just before his big comeback concert. The >>>

THE VOICE OF PEPPINO IMPASTATO by Ivan Vadori at Riverside Studios

Thursday, July 24, 2014

THE VOICE OF PEPPINO IMPASTATO by Ivan Vadori at Riverside Studios

The documentary tells the main episodes of Peppino Impastato’s life and his fight aganist Mafia, emphasizing his activity as an investigative journalist. When he was 15, Peppino became fully aware of what Mafia was when his uncle – a Mafia boss – was >>>

THE MAFIA KILLS ONLY IN THE SUMMER by Pierfrancesco Diliberto, aka Pif at Riverside Studios

Thursday, July 24, 2014

THE MAFIA KILLS ONLY IN THE SUMMER by Pierfrancesco Diliberto, aka Pif at Riverside Studios

The Mafia only kills in the Summer tells the story of Arturo, a young boy growing up in Palermo – the fascinating and terrible city ruled by the Mafia- in 70s and 90s. He falls in love with his school friend Flora when they are still in primary school. >>>

GLI SFIORATI, by Matteo Rovere

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

GLI SFIORATI, by Matteo Rovere

Adapted from the book by Sandro Veronese, this is the story of Mate and Belinda: the only thing they have in common is their father. Mete, a young and expert graphologist, Belinda an evasive teen ager, have never seen each other before, but they are now >>>

Learn Italian with videos

More Italian events in London

Learn Italian at the Italian Cultural Institute

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Ciao amici! Join us for another evening of Italian culture at this unusual venue.
Relax with an aperitivo and enjoy tasty homemade Italian food while you admire beautifully designed Italian furniture in this elegant showroom.
 This will be followed by a screening of an award winning Italian humorous film.

Where: PUNTO IT “All About Design” 20-22 Rosebery Avenue , London EC1R 4SX
•Tube: Chancery Lane / Farringdon
•When: May 9th Friday from 7.00pm
•Entry: £.10,00

Aperitivo and nibbles included


Antonio – antonio.lucicesare@gmail.com
Giuseppe – gamoroso77@gmail.com

Booking: Highly recommended to avoid disappointment

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With “The Great Beauty”, prized as best foreign movie at the Academy Awards, it seems that the city of  Rome has taken back a central role in the international movie industry.With the once-glorious Cinecittà Studios decayed beyond repair, Rome can at least exist in the Cinema as an elegant movie set. In recent years, many  international productions were set in Rome, capitalizing its lights, its streets, its unique, chaotic beauty : “EatPrayLove ” starring Julia Roberts and Woody Allen’s “To Rome with Love” to name the most famous; maybe “The Great Beauty” success itself was also determined by this renewed appeal and interest in the city.

Like many fellow citizens, one of my favourite hobbies is complaining about my hometown, but when it comes to the big screen I instantly become a grumpy centurion in defense of Roma, caput mundi. Suddenly over-defensive, I always have the feeling that my city hasn’t been well depicted: too sterotyped, too elegant, too beautiful, too rich, too untroubled or too chaotic, especially in foreign movies.

Of course I’m too demanding: one movie alone cannot tell any city, its people, its infinite layers of history and stories, its comical and tragical aspects. I’m pretty sure a newyorker could complain the same way.But those interested in learning more about Rome can do it through Italian movies: for many reasons each one of Italian cinema periods seem to represent Rome from a peculiar and distinctive point of view, and some Italian movie genres focus on peculiar aspects of the city:the tough city in the second war aftermath, depicted in neorealist movies such as “Ladri di Biciclette”,  its elegant and corrupt centre in Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” and in Dino Risi’s hilarious commedies (“I mostri” is my favourite), its sprawl, violent and hostile in the ’70s cop movies (“Roma a mano armata”) but still innocent in Pasolini’s movies (don’t miss “Uccellacci e Uccellini”). If you dig into italian history, you may already know many costume dramas set in Rome but maybe you missed Luigi Magni’s beautiful trilogy on the Papal Rome of the 1800s (“Nell’anno del Signore”, “In nome del Papa Re” and “In nome del Popolo Sovrano”). To peer into the Vatican keyhole in modern times you’d better watch revealing Nanni Moretti’s “Habemus Papam” than “Angels and Demons”. From the same author there’s a famous review of some Roman quarters in the first episode of “Caro Diario”.

Most of these movies are well-known, it’s easy to find them with subtitles; you could watch them paying attention to the movie set, to the piazze and vicoli where the story unfolds. Also, if you have a basic knowledge of Italian, it can be a good chance to practise the language or even learn a bit of roman, whichcan turnuseful if you plan to visit the city.

by Federico Mari, teacher in Rome, Kappa Italian Language School

read more: 

Italian movies for students of Italian

Learn Italian with videos

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The third edition of Cinema Made in Italy offers a 5-day showcase of the best recent Italian productions. The festival’s programme includes 10 brand new Italian films: a selection of eight titles made by Gianni Canova, Italian film critic, Professor of Cinema History and Dean of IULM University in Milan, and a special choice of two films by Adrian Wootton, CEO of Film London. Four of these films are French-Italian coproductions, highlighting the long history of fruitful cinematic collaboration between France and Italy.


The screenings will be followed by Q&A sessions with directors and actors. This is a unique chance to see Italian films that have not yet had exposure in the UK and a rare opportunity to catch up with brand new, cutting edge Italian cinema.www.filmitalia.org

Read more: Italian Cultural Institute

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Watching a film in Italian, either at home or in class, is one of my students’ favourite activities to improve their language. And who can blame them!  Films provide full immersion in Italian culture!

Let’s start with the soundtrack. Italy has some truly great film score composers (or ‘maestri‘) who are now almost as famous as their director colleagues. Film scores often powerfully evoke a particular historic period. Just think about La Dolce Vita, and perhaps you can hear the Nino Rota track in your head!

Then there’s location. From North to South, from Rome to Naples, from the mountains to the sea, watching an Italian film is one long, pleasant trip to Italy!

And finally, consider the language itself.You can watch, listen and learn. Different accents, a spot of dialect and the everyday Italian language and authentic dialogue you don’t often find in a textbook. You can find it all here. Film provides some hugely valuable insights into the country, its people, culture and language. So, now just choose your film, sit back and enjoy!

Buona visione, Antonio

Un classico: Ladri di biciclette also known as The Bicycle Thief, is a 1948 Italian neorealist film directed by Vittorio De Sica. It tells the story of a poor man searching the streets of Rome for his stolen bicycle, which he needs to be able to work.

Una commedia:   Pranzo di ferragostoMid-August lunch). The table is set for this very Italian, very funny, yet touching movie. It captures the essence of living the Italian life and the universal need for friendship and human contact at any age.

 Pane e tulipani (Bread and Tulips)  is a romantic Italian comedy. The film is by Italian director Silvio Soldini. After being forgotten in a highway café during a bus trip, a housewife decides to start a new life by herself in Venice.

Drammatico: Un borghese piccolo piccolo, literally meaning a petty petty bourgeois, also known in English as A Very Little Man,  is a 1977 Italian drama film directed by Mario Monicelli. It is based on the novel of the same name written by Vincenzo Cerami. The first hour is a fine example of commedia all’italiana but the second part is a psychological drama and a tragedy.

Commedia/ Drammatico: Tutto quello che vuoi (2017) – A young man named Alessandro begrudgingly accepts a job as a companion for Giorgio, an elderly poet with Alzheimer’s. As they banter during their daily walks, they slowly piece together Giorgio’s long-buried memories, revealing clues to a hidden treasure. A film about memory and the dialogue between the generations and keeps you on your toes throughout.

Un giallo:  Le conseguenze dell’amore also known as The Consequences of Love   is a 2004 Italian psychological thriller film directed by Paolo Sorrentino. It tells the story of a lonely and secretive Italian businessman living in a Swiss hotel.

 Drammatico, La meglio gioventù, (2003), an Italian epic that follows the lives of two brothers, from the 1960s to the 2000s.

Un’altra commediaMine Vaganti (Loose Cannons), Tommaso is the youngest son of the Cantones, a large, traditional southern Italian family operating a pasta-making business since the 1960s. On a trip home from Rome, where he studies literature and lives with his boyfriend, Tommaso decides to tell his parents the truth about himself.

Una commedia “religiosa“:Habemus Papam,(We Have a Pope) is a 2011 Italian comedy-drama film directed by Nanni Moretti. Its original title is Habemus Papam, Latin for “We have a pope”, the phrase used upon the announcement of a new pope. The film stars Michel Piccoli as a cardinal who, against his wishes, is elected pope. Moretti co-stars as a psychiatrist who is called in to help the pope overcome his panic.

Drammatico: Il gioiellino  (The Jewel)  The movie helps to understand the largest bankrupt in Italian history, the description of  how the CEO and CFO Parmalat hide a huge debt before collapsing.

Un giallo: Io Non Ho Paura (I’m Not Scared) is the story of a young boy in southern Italy that finds a child who has been kidnapped. Based on a true story. Director: Gabriele Salvatores

Un capolavoro:La grande bellezza (The Great beauty) Jep Gambardella, a 65-year-old journalist and once promising novelist, spends his easy life among Rome s high society in a swirl of rooftop parties and late-night soirees. But when he learns of the death of his friend s wife a woman he loved as an 18-year-old his life is thrown into perspective and he begins to see the world through new eyes. Director:Paolo Sorrentino

Study Italian: get a quote

Un altro classico:Nuovo Cinema Paradiso A filmmaker recalls his childhood, when he fell in love with the movies at his village’s theater and formed a deep friendship with the theater’s projectionist.

Un premio Oscar: La vita è bella ( Life Is Beautiful) is a 1997 Italian comedy-drama film directed by and starring Roberto Benigni. Benigni plays Guido Orefice, a Jewish Italian book shop owner, who must employ his fertile imagination to shield his son from the horrors of internment in a Nazi concentration camp. Part of the film came from Benigni’s own family history; before Roberto’s birth, his father had survived three years of internment at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp

Drammatico: Il capitale umano (Human Capital)The destinies of two families are irrevocably tied together after a cyclist is hit off the road by a jeep in the night before Christmas Eve.

Where to study Italian

Un giallo da premio Oscar: Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto (Investigation of a citizen above suspicion ) is a 1970 Italian crime drama film directed by Elio Petri. It is a dramatic, psychological, black-humoured satire on corruption in high office, telling the story of a top police officer, played by Gian Maria Volonté, who kills his mistress, played by Florinda Bolkan, and then tests whether the police would charge him for this crime.

Una commedia: Il nome del figlio ( An Italian name), The extrovert Paolo and the beautiful Simona are expecting. At a dinner with Betta and Sandro, the refined and literate couple, and Claudio, the eccentric musician, one question will lead to an argument that will shake up the night: the name of Paolo and Simona’s son.

Una commedia: Smetto quando voglio ( I can quit whenever I want) A university researcher is fired because of the cuts to university. To earn a living he decides to produce drugs recruiting his former colleagues, who despite their skills are living at the margins of society.

Una giornata particolare (A Special Day):  is a 1977 Italian film directed by Ettore Scola and starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. Set in Rome in 1938, its narrative follows a woman and her neighbor who stay home the day Adolf Hitler visits Benito Mussolini. The film has received several nominations and awards, including a César Award for Best Foreign Film in 1978 and two Oscar nominations in 1977, and it is featured on the list of the 100 Italian films to be saved.

Comedy, crime and drama in Mio fratello è figlio unico (My brother is an only child) Growing up in small-town Italy during the ’60s and ’70s, brothers Accio (Elio Germano) and Manrico (Riccardo Scamarcio) embody and celebrate opposing political stances, but share an impassioned love of the same woman that threatens to drive them to blows.

 La pazza gioia (Like Crazy) another comedy and drama. This is a 2016 Italian film directed by Paolo Virzì, starring Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Micaela Ramazzotti. It tells the story of two women with different backgrounds who become friends while being treated at a mental institution.

To be continued….


Catalogo dei film all’Istituto Italiano di Cultura

Learn Italian with songs

Learn with videos

Italian cinema in London

Study Italian in Italy

Book your Italian lesson

Have you got a question for me? Email it to antonio.lucicesare@gmail.com

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