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Salem State University | Department of World Languages & Cultures | Language Resource Center

Italian Language Films and Documentaries

Films and documentaries kept at the LRC are for viewing at the LRC exclusively. They may not normally be checked out. VHS tapes may be viewed in the two TV-VHS combo machines at the lab (ask the lab attendant for a set of headphones). DVD's may be viewed at any of the computers.

Italian-language feature films

I'm Not Scared -

Year: 2004 - Country: Italy - Language: Italian - Director: Gabriele Salvatores - Genre: - Runtime: 108 min. - Actors: Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Dino Abbrescia, Giorgio Careccia, Giuseppe Cristiano, Mattia Di Pierro - Rating: R - Format: DVD - Acquired: Fall 2014

"Miramax Home Entertainment presents I'M NOT SCARED, the suspenseful and compelling thriller about a young boy who discovers a shocking secret. This masterfully crafted, haunting film is directed by Gabriele Salvatores, director of the Academy Award(R) winning film "Mediterraneo" (Best Foreign Language Film, 1991). In I'M NOT SCARED, something sinister is lurking under the surface of 10-year old Michele's (Guiseppe Cristiano) idyllic summer. While the days in his remote southern Italian village are filled with the familiar routines of childhood, a chance discovery leads to a shocking revelation. Now, suddenly beyond the point-of-no-return, Michele digs further to find that even his own parents may be involved in a monstrous crime." (Source)ánchez-Gijón/dp/B0002RQ320/

Divorce, Italian Style

Year: 1962 - Country: Italy - Language: Italian - Director: Pietro Germi - Genre: - Runtime: 104 min. - Actors: Marcello Mastroianni, Daniela Rocca, Stefania Sandrelli, Leopoldo Trieste, Odoardo Spadaro - Rating: NR - Format: DVD - Acquired: Fall 2014

"Baron Ferdinando Cefalù (Marcello Mastroianni) longs to marry his nubile cousin Angela, but one obstacle stands in his way: his fatuous and fawning wife, Rosalia. His solution? Since divorce is illegal, he will devise a scenario wherein he can catch his spouse in the arms of another and murder her to save his honor-a lesser offense. Criterion is proud to present director Pietro Germi's hilarious and cutting satire of Italy's hypocritical judicial system and male-dominated culture, winner of the 1962 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, in a two-disc DVD edition that also features a documentary on the director, new interviews with the actors and screenwriter, screen-test footage, and more." (Source)

My Name is Tanino

Year: 2002 - Country: Italy - Language: Italian - Director: Paolo Virzi' - Genre: - Runtime: 108 min. - Actors: Rachel McAdams, Corrado Fortuna - Rating: - Format: DVD - Acquired: May 2007

"Tanino e' un ragazzo siciliano di vent'anni, fanatico di uno sconosciuto cineasta di New York. L'incontro con Sally, un'americana in vacanza, per lui e' subito colpo di fulmine. Pur di rivederla e scappare dalla sua vita, il ragazzo decide di partire alla volta degli Stati Uniti. Ma Sally non e' molto contenta di vederlo anche se la sua famiglia lo accoglie calorosamente. Dopo una serie di avventure Tanino si rendera' conto che l'America non e' esattamente come l'aveva sognata." (source)
"During a sunny Sicilian summer Tanino has a sweet and tender story with Sally, a young American tourist. But when summer is over, Sally flies back to the States forgetting Tanino and her camera. He instead cannot forget the girl and he decides to go to the States with the excuse of bringing back her the camera and to see the dreamland of any Sicilian. Tanino will discover that dreams don't always match with reality... - Written by 1felco" (source)

Terraferma (2011)

Year: 2011 - Country: Italy - Language: Italian - Director: Emanuele Crialese - Genre: - Runtime: 88 min. - Actors: Filippo Pucillo, Donatella Finocchiaro, Beppe Fiorello - Rating: R - Format: DVD - Acquired: Feb 2013 "Set on and around a summer tourist island off the coast of Sicily, Terraferma tells the story of two struggling, yet disparate families, whose members become fatefully intertwined. A well-intentioned, but illegal rescue of immigrant boat people forces the individuals of the indigenous family to choose between their economic survival and doing the morally right thing." (source),

The Best Of Youth (2007)

Year: 2007 - Country: Italy - Language: Italian - Director: Marco Tullio Giordana - Genre: - Runtime: 368 min. - Actors: Luigi Lo Cascio, Alessio Boni, Adriana Sti, Sonia Bergamasco, Fabrizio Gifuni - Rating: R - Format: DVD - Acquired: Feb 2012 "368 minutes of Italian TV miniseries--yes, that is indeed six hours' worth--comes unspooling in The Best of Youth, a stirring and beautiful experience. The film needs its running time to immerse us in the world of the Carati family from 1966 to near the present day. Two brothers are the primary focus: Nicola (Luigi Lo Cascio), a responsible medical student, and Matteo (Alessio Boni), a troubled soldier. After a youthful road trip, their paths diverge, but each is carried along by the changing, sometimes violent, political weather of Italy in the 1970s and '80s. Life issues surge and ebb, with the increasing sense that Matteo is a lost soul, beyond even the help of the luminous woman (unforgettable Maya Sansa) who comes into his life..." (source),

Saturn in Opposition (2008)

Year: 2008 - Country: Italy - Language: Italian - Director: Ferzan Ozpetek - Genre: - Runtime: 108 min. - Actors: Margherita Buy, Luigi Diberti, Ennio Fantastichini, Milena Vukotic, Isabella Ferrari - Rating: R - Format: DVD - Acquired: Feb 2012

"This film focuses on contemporary 30- and 40-somethings trying to make sense of their lives in an age in which the old certainties have disappeared. Lorenzo (Luca Argentero) and Davide (Pierfrancesco Favino) make their lives together within a circle that includes Antonio (Stefano Acorsi) and Angelica (Margherita Buy), married with children; Nerval (Serra Yilmaz) and her policeman husband (Filippo Timi); and Davides ex, Sergio (Ennio Fantastachini). When tragedy strikes, the boundaries and divisions among friends, acquaintances and even lovers become brutally apparent." (source),

The Sicilian Girl / La siciliana ribelle (2008)

Year: 2008 - Country: Italy - Language: Italian - Director: Marco Amenta - Genre: - Runtime: - Actors: Veronica D'Agostino, Gérard Jugnot and Giulia Andò - Rating: NR - Format: DVD - Acquired: Feb 2012

"THE SICILIAN GIRL, La siciliana ribelle, is a Foreign Language film in Italian. It was directed by Marco Amenta and it has a running time of 115 minutes. The film is based on true events that brought about the arrest and conviction of members of the Sicilian Mafia. The film starts out with a seventeen year old Sicilian girl, Rita (played by Veronica DAgostino) handing over a gun, which is the only memento she has from her deceased father. Jump back seven years and the story starts to unfold. It is 1985 and the church bells are tolling. Rita is a precocious 10 year old, whose mother does not like her but whose father adores her..." (source);

Angela (2002)

Year: 2002 - Country: Italy - Language: Italian - Director: Roberta Torre - Genre: - Runtime: - Actors: Donatella Finocchiaro, Andrea Di Stefano, Mario Pupella, Toni Gambino, Erasmo Lobello - Rating: R - Format: DVD - Acquired: Nov 2010

True story of an attractive Sicilian mob-wife who participates in her husband's drug-dealing business and falls for her husband's lackey.

I Vitelloni (1953)

Year: 1953 - Country: Italy - Director: Federico Fellini - Genre: Comedy | Drama - Runtime: 104 min - Actors: Alberto Sordi, Franco Fabrizi, Franco Interlenghi, Leopoldo Trieste, Riccardo Fellini - Rating: NR - Format: DVD - Acquired: Dec. 2009 Federico Fellini's breakthrough film, the 1953 I Vitelloni, is one of the cinema's seminal stories about slacker males, and a highly entertaining one at that. Following the unfortunate failure of his comedy The White Sheik, Fellini prepared to shoot La Strada (he would release that early masterpiece in 1954), but decided at the last minute to make an autobiographical feature about mischievous, drifting, 30-ish losers in a small, seaside town. I Vitelloni clicked with international audiences and remains an obvious influence on such later classics as Breaking Away and Diner. But there's nothing like Fellini's almost self-mocking fusion of gritty neo-realism with the audacious, illusionary style he would later be entirely linked. The ensemble comedy follows the ever-diminishing fortunes of five young men who can't define, let alone jump-start, their dreams, particularly the caddish Fausto (Franco Fabrizi), who thinks nothing of molesting the wife of his father-in-law's best friend. --Tom Keogh

Io non ho paura / I'm Not Scared (2003)

Year: 2003 - Country: Italy - Director: Gabriele Salvatores - Genre: Drama | Mystery | Thriller - Runtime: 108 min - Actors: Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Dino Abbrescia, Giorgio Careccia, Giuseppe Cristiano, Mattia Di Pierro - Rating: R - Format: DVD - Acquired: Dec. 2009


(Fellini's) Roma (1972)

Year: 1972 - Country: Italy - Director: Federico Fellini - Genre: Comedy | Drama - Runtime: 128 min - Actors: Alfredo Adami, Britta Barnes, Bireno, Ginette Marcelle Bron, Pia De Doses - Rating: R - Format: DVD - Acquired: Dec. 2009

"A virtually plotless, gaudy, impressionistic portrait of Rome through the eyes of one of its most famous citizens. blending autobiography (a reconstruction of Fellini's own arrival in Rome during the Mussolini years; a trip to a brothel and a music-hall) with scenes from present-day Roman life (a massive traffic jam on the autostrada; a raucous journey through Rome after dark; following an archaeological team through the site of the Rome subways; an unforgettable ecclesiastical fashion show)" (Michael Brooke),

Le Chiavi di Casa / The Keys to the House

Year: 2004 - Country: Italy - Director: Gianni Amelio - Genre: - Runtime: - Actors: Kim Rossi Stuart, Andrea Rossi - Rating: - Format: DVD - Acquired: May 2009

Gianni is reunited with Paolo, the 15-year-old son he has never seen; a son he abandoned at birth. The reunion is not Gianni’s idea – it is that of Paolo’s doctor who hopes the connection will benefit the troubled boy. Gianni experiences a Pandora’s box in Paolo, full of shocks and wonders, but the keys to one’s house are often the keys to one’s heart.

La Spettatrice (The Spectator)

Year: 2003 - Country: Italy - Director: Paolo Franchi - Genre: Drama - Runtime: 98 min- Actors: Barbora Bobulova, Andrea Renzi, Brigitte Catillon, Chiara Picchi, Matteo Mussoni - Rating: NR - Format: DVD - Acquired: December 2006

THE SPECTATOR is a stunning debut feature from writer/director Paolo Franchi.Valeria is a simultaneous interpreter by profession, spending her days alone in her translation booth, listening to the words of the others. She visits bars and indulges in one-night stands but is chronically detached until she becomes obsessed with Massimo, a doctor who lives opposite her apartment. After translating a conference in which Massimo speaks of "solitude, emotional poverty and detachment from the world," she begins to follow him around, intrigued by his movements. When Massimo suddenly moves from Rome to Turin, Valeria leaves her life behind to follow. Finding Massimo is involved with an older woman, Valeria creates an "accidental" meeting with her rival. This encounter leads to a mutual curiosity followed by an ambiguous relationship between the two women, which develops into a love triangle entangling Massimo. New Classics, the DVD releasing arm of the Syracuse International Film and Video Festival, specializes in introducing exciting new filmmakers on the cusp of international acclaim. Previous releases have included Xiaosong Gao’s RAINBOW and Haim Bouzaglo’s DISTORTION.

Pane e cioccolata (Bread and Chocolate)

Year: 1973 - Country: Italy - Director: Franco Brusati - Genre: Comedy - Runtime: 110 minutes - Actors: Nino Manfredi, Johnny Dorelli, Anna Karina, Paolo Turco, Ugo D'Alessio - Rating: NR - Format: DVD - Acquired: December 2006

Plot Synopsis: Italian immigrant tries to become a member of Swiss society but fails as a waiter and even as a chicken plucker. He then becomes involved with shady wealthy character and tries to hide his Italian identity. He refuses to give up no matter how awful his situation. Nino Manfredi gives a wonderfully comic and sensitive performance as Nino, an Italian working as a waiter in Switzerland. Absent three years from his wife and children--for whom he is theoretically raising money to join him in Swiss prosperity--Nino is a little like David Bowie's dispirited alien in The Man Who Fell to Earth, an outsider too reinvented to return to his roots. Lonely, earthy, and clumsy among the polished locals, Nino has a series of Chaplinesque disasters that ultimately cost him his work permit and resident status. Instead of leaving the country, however, he sneaks back in and stays with a reclusive, beautiful woman (Anna Karina) with something of her own to hide. The adventures don't end there: like a modern Candide, Nino moves from one situation to the next, clinging to his optimism but also a strong suspicion he can never return home. Director Franco Brusati (Forget Venice) has made a rare comedy here that is both light and tough at the same time, with a hero whose clownish trappings don't so much soften his anxieties as make him more sympathetic for suffering them. --Tom Keogh

Facing windows

Year: 2004 - Country: Italy - Director: Ferzan Ozpetek - Genre: Drama, Romance - Runtime: 107 minutes - Actors: Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Massimo Girotti - Rating: R - Format: DVD - Acquired: December 2006

Plot Outline: Overburdened and stuck in a greying marriage, Giovanna takes to caring for the Jewish Holocaust survivor her husband brings home. As she begins to reflect on her life, she turns to the man who lives across from her ...

Plot Synopsis: Giovanna is a bookeeper in a company which packs chickens. She is married to a man who has a precarious job. First she starts being curious about a young man who lives in the block opposite hers, and then she falls in love with him. The relationship between the two becomes much stronger when she starts to find out more about him from an old man who bursts into their lives. The old man, obsessed with the memories of some things that happened n the long past autumn of 1943, has lost his memory and finds refuge in Giovanna. The beautiful and wonderfully named Giovanna Mezzogiorno joins the list of soulful Italian actresses with Facing Windows, a pleasant cinematic fancy. Her character is a married Mom in an ordinary apartment, whose life is affected by two things: her fascination with the handsome man who lives across the courtyard, and the sudden arrival in her home of an elderly amnesiac (played by the late Massimo Girotti)--a well-dressed man found walking on the street, dazed and lost. Turkish-born director Ferzan Ozpetek (Steam: The Turkish Bath) makes this simultaneously a slice of life and a vaguely fantastical situation. It probably all works out a little too neatly, but the unhurried pace and deep sympathy Ozpetek displays toward his main characters is refreshing. And when in doubt, he points the camera at the face of La Mezzogiorno, which solves all problems. --Robert Horton

Ciao, Professore!

Year: 1994 - Country: Italy - Director: Lina Wertmüller - Genre: Comedy - Runtime: 94 minutes - Actors: Paolo Villaggio, Isa Danieli - Rating: R - Format: DVD - Acquired: December 2006

Plot Synopsis: Marco Sperelli is a teacher, he is divorced and he is sent to work in Corzano, a town near Naples. The first day of work he finds in the school only the school-caretaker and few girls and boys in the class-room. He goes out looking for them and he discovers then a wretched life led by the boys and the girls of Corzano. A life in which only power and violence are worth respecting. Sperelli tries to teach something different but he gets their respect only by slapping Raffaele, on the way to became a camorrist. His presence and his work, however, disturb too many persons and he will be transferred.

Il Postino (The Postman)

Year: 1995 - Country: Italy - Director: Michael Radford- Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance - Runtime: 108 minutes - Actors: Philippe Noiret, Massimo Troisi - Rating: PG - Format: DVD - Acquired: December 2006

Product Description: Cheered by critics and audiences everywhere, IL POSTINO (THE POSTMAN) is the record-breaking Academy Award(R)-winning (Best Dramatic Score, 1995) romantic comedy that delivers heartfelt laughs! Mario is a bumbling mailman who's madly in love with the most beautiful woman in town ... and who's too shy to tell her how he feels. But when a world-famous poet -- Pablo Neruda -- moves into town, Mario is inspired. With Neruda's help, he finds the right words to win the woman's heart! This unforgettably funny comedy proves that passion ... with some artful deception ... can win the most improbable love! Italian star and filmmaker Massimo Troisi was dying of heart failure even before this film, his dream project, began production, and he prevailed upon British director Michael Radford (White Mischief) to see him and the film through to the end. (The 40-year-old Troisi, a beloved comic actor in Italy, died the day production wrapped.) Based on true events, Troisi plays a shy postman who strikes up an unlikely friendship with exiled Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (Philippe Noiret). Through Neruda's example and tutelage, the hero learns to think of his Italian fishing village in lyrical terms, as well as how to talk to women and even find the strength to take his political stands. Sweet as it is, the film finally pushes beyond its charming borders to become an even more complex and poignant story about the pain of growing into one's destiny. --Tom Keogh

The Star Maker

Year: 1996 - Country: Italy - Director: Giuseppe Tornatore - Genre: Drama - Runtime: 107 minutes - Actors: Sergio Castellitto, Tiziana Lodato - Rating: R - Format: DVD - Acquired: December 2006

Product Description: This critically acclaimed motion picture from the creator of the Academy Award(R)-Winning favorite CINEMA PARADISO, was heralded as a masterpiece by critics from coast to coast. Joe Morelli is the "star maker" -- a con man who travels from one small town to the next, claiming to be a talent scout for a top movie studio. And wherever Joe goes, people turn out in droves for a chance at being seen and becoming the world's next big-screen sensation! A lively and entertaining story about the magic of movies and the extraordinary dreams of everyday people, THE STAR MAKER earned a 1995 Academy Award nomination as Best Foreign Language Film!

La Stanza del figlio (The Son's Room)

Year: 2001 - Country: Italy - Director: Nanni Moretti - Genre: Drama - Duration: 99 min - Actors: Nanni Moretti (Giovanni, Laura Morante (Paola), Jasmine Trinca (Irene), Giuseppe Sanfelice (Andrea), Sofia Vigliar (Arianna) - Rating: USA:R - Format: DVD - Acquired: June 2005 Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti's signature talent for the overheard, unexpected, and happened-upon detail lends The Son's Room, the story of a grieving middle-class family, the unnerving quality of an unwanted surprise. Giovanni (Moretti) is a successful psychoanalyst whose family life is remarkably placid and enviously intimate: his beautiful wife (Laura Morante) and two intelligent, attractive teenage children are unafraid of their emotions. When his son, Andrea (Giuseppe Sanfelice), drowns in a diving accident, Giovanni is driven to suspend his practice and unintentionally betray his patients as he is haunted by what small choice he might have made in order to avert his son's death. Moretti, more widely known for his comedies, masterfully recreates how seemingly trivial things can take on such importance in the aftermath of tragedy. The intricacies of remembering are traced with such a light touch that the cumulative impact of the film is far greater than its many well-chosen details. Winner of the Palme d'Or (highest honor) at the Cannes International Film Festival, The Son's Room, which refuses melodrama at every step, is a deeply affecting portrait of familial love and the ritual of grieving. --Fionn Meade (

Chosen by "Les Cahiers du cinéma" (France) as one of the 10 best pictures of 2001

Year: 1963 - Country: Italy - Director: Federico Fellini - Genre: Drama - Duration: 138 min - Actors: Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée, Sandra Milo - Rating: - Format: DVD

"Guido is a film director, trying to relax after his last big hit. He can't get a moments peace, however, with the people who have worked with him in the past constantly looking for more work. He wrestles with his conscience, but is unable to come up with a new idea. While thinking, he starts to recall major happenings in his life, and all the women he has loved and left. An autobiographical film of Fellini, about the trials and tribulations of film making." IMDb

Life Is Beautiful (AT THE LRC) [2 copies] [replacement copy]

Year: 1997 - Country: Italy - Genre: - Duration: 116 mins. - Director: Roberto Benigni - Actors: - Rating: - Format: DVD

Roberto Benigni's celebrated and enormously popular film boldly blends a sentimental and humorous portrait of family love with a stark Holocaust drama, while gracefully allowing the star moments to showcase his gifts for physical comedy. The film begins as a fairy tale romance, then shifts dramatically when the hero and his family are placed in a concentration camp. To get his young son through the ordeal, the father (Benigni) tries to convince him that the hardships they are enduring are all part of an elaborate game. Benigni won Best Actor honors at the Academy Awards, where the film was also honored as Best Foreign Language Film. Italian with English subtitles. Reviews at

Cinema Paradiso
SSU Library CIRC DESK Video PN 1997 .N86 2003

Year: 1989 - Country: Italy - Genre: - Duration: 123 min. - Director: Giuseppe Tornatore - Actors: Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale - Rating: - Format: DVD

(Extended version--the director's cut--as well as the original version included) This crowd-pleasing, Best Foreign Language Film Oscar winner is an affectionate salute to the magic of the movies and the individuals who spend their lives in the projection booth. Philippe Noiret stars as Alfredo, the projectionist for a small Sicilian village movie palace, who opens up new worlds for one very inquisitive child. With Jacques Perrin, Salvatore Cascio, Pupella Maggio and Marco Leonardi. This is the extended version of the film released in 2002, with 51 minutes of footage cut from the original 1989 U.S. release. Italian with English subtitles. DVD-DV61657 - Letterboxed, closed-captioned. Includes original, 123-minute 1989 release version. essential video: Giuseppe Tornatore's beautiful 1988 film about a little boy's love affair with the movies deservedly won an Oscar for Best Foreign Film and a Special Jury Prize at Cannes. Philippe Noiret plays a grizzled old projectionist who takes pride in his presentation of screen dreams for a town still recovering from World War II. When a child (Jacques Perrin) demonstrates fascination not only for movies but also for the process of showing them to an audience, a lifelong friendship is struck. This isn't just one of those films for people who are already in love with the cinema. But if you are one of those folks, the emotional resonance between the action in Tornatore's world and the images on Noiret's screen will seem all the greater--and the finale all the more powerful. --Tom Keogh Reviews at

Pane e tulipani (Bread & Tulips)
SSU Library CIRC DESK Video PN 1997 .P3623 2002

Year: 2000 - Country: Italy - Genre: - Duration: 104 mins. - Director: Silvio Soldini - Actors: - Rating: - Format: DVD

An unhappy housewife, accidentally left behind by a tour bus, heads to Venice and soon embarks upon a new life. Leaving her hot-headed husband and teenaged children behind, she meets a melancholy waiter who opens the door to his home and a door to a new beginning for her. One of Italy's biggest recent commercial and critical hits, this film won 9 Donatello Awards, including Best Picture, Actor (Bruno Ganz), Actress (Licia Maglietta), and Director. "Seeing Bread and Tulips may not be as good as having an actual holiday in Italy, but it's close" (Shirley Sealy, Film Journal International). Italian with English subtitles. Reviews at

Il Postino (The postman)
SSU Library CIRC DESK Video PN 1997 .P667 1995

Year: 1995 - Country: Italy - Genre: - Duration: 108 mins - Director: Michael Radford - Actors: Massimo Troisi - Rating: PG - Format: DVD "Italian star and filmmaker Massimo Troisi was dying of heart failure even before this film, his dream project, began production, and he prevailed upon British director Michael Radford (White Mischief) to see him and the film through to the end. (The 40-year-old Troisi, a beloved comic actor in Italy, died the day production wrapped.) Based on true events, Troisi plays a shy postman who strikes up an unlikely friendship with exiled Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (Philippe Noiret). Through Neruda's example and tutelage, the hero learns to think of his Italian fishing village in lyrical terms, as well as how to talk to women and even find the strength to take his political stands. Sweet as it is, the film finally pushes beyond its charming borders to become an even more complex and poignant story about the pain of growing into one's destiny." --Tom Keogh

The Bicycle Thief
CIRC DESK Video PN 1997 .L34 1998
See the book too: PN 1997 .V58 S513 1968

Year: 1948 - Country: Italy - Genre: - Duration: 90 mins. - Director: Vittorio De Sica - Actors: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola - Rating: - Format: DVD essential video: "Vittorio De Sica's remarkable 1947 drama of desperation and survival in Italy's devastating post-war depression earned a special Oscar for its affecting power. Shot in the streets and alleys of Rome, De Sica uses the real-life environment of contemporary life to frame his moving drama of a desperate father whose new job delivering cinema posters is threatened when a street thief steals his bicycle. Too poor to buy another, he and his son take to the streets in an impossible search for his bike. Cast with nonactors and filled with the real street life of Rome, this landmark film helped define the Italian neorealist approach with its mix of real life details, poetic imagery, and warm sentimentality. De Sica uses the wandering pair to witness the lives of everyday folks, but ultimately he paints a quiet, poignant portrait of father and son, played by nonprofessionals Lamberto Maggiorani and Enzo Staiola, whose understated performances carry the heart of the film. De Sica and scenarist Cesare Zavattini also collaborated on Shoeshine, Miracle in Milan, and Umberto D, all classics in the neorealist vein, but none of which approach the simple poetry and quiet power achieved in The Bicycle Thief." --Sean Axmaker

Mozart - Don Giovanni / Maazel, Raimondi, Te Kanawa, Paris Opera (1979)

Year: - Country: - Director: - Genre: - Duration: - Actors: - Rating: - Format: DVD

"Set in Seville in the 1600s, young nobleman Don Giovanni is a well-known philanderer with a long list of amorous conquests. After he attempts to seduce the beautiful Donna Anna, her father's battle to protect her ends in tragedy. A film version of Mozart's greatest opera, directed by Joseph Losey (The Servant), with music direction by Lorin Maazel. 177 minutes." Amazon

Vivaldi's Orlando furioso / Behr, Horne, Patterson, San Francisco Opera

Year: 1990 - Country: - Director: - Genre: - Duration: - Actors: - Rating: - Format: DVD
"Antonio Vivaldi was an important opera composer, with at least 47 operas--and perhaps twice that many--to his credit. But he first became known to modern audiences almost exclusively for his instrumental music. This unbalanced view does not mean that his operatic music is inferior to his concertos. It reflects instead economic conditions (opera costs a lot more to produce than instrumental music) and major changes in the tastes of the opera audience during the 19th century and much of the 20th.
Baroque opera has made a comeback in popular taste in recent decades, and this production of Orlando furioso embodies the genre's distinctive qualities: elaborately ornamented da capo arias, the use of high-pitched voices (originally castrati) in heroic roles, and an intricate plot full of implausible relations, misunderstandings, and deceptions among star-crossed lovers. The primary reason for the recording's existence is the spectacular performance of Marilyn Horne in the role of the medieval knight Orlando, legendary nephew of Charlemagne, including a long and technically dazzling mad scene. But the San Francisco Opera has assembled a stellar cast for the sometimes extraordinary demands of the other roles. Particularly impressive are Susan Patterson as Angelica, whom Orlando loves to the point of madness, and Kathleen Kuhlmann as the wicked witch Alcina, but the whole cast performs without significant weakness. Visually, the production captures the fairy-tale quality of the libretto, and conductor Randall Behr has Vivaldi's style, vocal and instrumental, well in hand." --Joe McLellan

"Antonio Vivaldi's opera takes place on the sorceress Alcina's enchanted island. Although old and ugly, Alcina has the magical power to make herself appear beautiful and to bewitch courtiers who set foot in her realm. She has tried to make her power eternal by gaining possession of the invincible guard Arontes under the statue of the wizard in the Temple of Infernal Hecate. Brought to the island by fate, the other main characters of the opera, namely the beautiful Angelica, her young Saracen lover, Medoro, and the jealous Orlando--a Christian knight and Charlemagne's nephew, who is in love with Angelica--are entwined in an intriguing love story of furious passion and despair. This San Francisco Opera production of Orlando Furioso boasts a stellar cast, headed by the American mezzo soprano, Marilyn Horne, whose undisputed mastery of the bel canto school of singing makes her one of today's finest performers. 140 minutes." Amazon

The Trial

Year: 1963 - Country: France - Director: - Genre: - Duration: 118 min - Actors: - Rating: - Format: DVD - Acquired:

Orson Welles considered this masterful adaptation of Franz Kafka's novel the best film of his brilliant career. Anthony Perkins stars as the young clerk Josef K., who is arrested and put on trial without ever knowing his crime. The cast includes Jeanne Moreau and Welles himself. Filmed in a deserted railway station in Paris, the movie captures the nightmarish world of Kafka's mythical police state. Underrated to this day, The Trial is a must see for anyone interested in Welles or great cinema in general.

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Italian-language documentaries

Palazzo Marconi

Year: 2006 - Country: Italy - Director: - Genre: - Runtime: - Actors: - Rating: - Format: DVD - Acquired: October 2006

Palazzo Marconi, in ancient times Palazzo Orsi (Via San Vitale, 28/30). It was constructed in the mid 16th century on a design by Antonio Terribilia. In the courtyard of nr. 28 (early 16th century) is a Hercules in terracotta by Domenico Piò (1775). Some of the rooms inside were painted by Davide Zanotti (Bologna, died in 1808), while the Madonna on the staircase is the work of Domenico Piò (Bologna 1716-1799).

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Last updated: September 29, 2016