Film recommendations for italophile

Trying to find something particularly good for my italophile father’s birthday. A sample of the films he likes:
[li]Il Postino (aka The Postman)[/li][li]Fellini’s Amarcord and Satyricon[/li][li]Tornatore’s Malèna and Cinema Paradiso[/li][/ul]
Some of Fellini’s films, such as Roma, he finds too noisy and confusing, however.

Other recommendations?

<i>Caro Diario</i>, by Nanni Moretti

Well, you’ve got earlier, more “earthy” Fellini: I Vitelloni, La Strada or The Nights of Cabiria. Plus, of course, the incredible La Dolce Vita.

You’ve also got the works of Roberto Rossellini & Vittorio De Sica. Though I think the former is a better filmmaker, the latter tends to be more accessible and audience-friendly to the non-arthouse types. The Bicycle Thief is the one everyone knows, but Shoeshine is its equal (at least) and is on DVD. General Della Rovere is good, too, and The Gold of Naples is a lot of fun.

Generally speaking, I’d steer clear of Pasolini & Antonioni in this situation (though they’re both terrific in their own right). Some other directors you might try are Francesco Rosi (Salvatore Giuliano), Luchino Visconti (Ossessione or Rocco and His Brothers), and the Taviani Brothers (Night of the Shooting Stars).

Needless to say, most of the films I’ve listed are in B&W, if that’s an issue.

Also, Martin Scorsese made a wonderful film about his love of Italian Cinema called My Voyage to Italy. Not only are his observations interesting and personal, but he’s very generous in the clips he shows and the analysis he makes, so it’s a great source if you want to explore some classics but don’t know where to start.

ArchiveGuy, thanks for the recommendations. I will check them out.

I think I want to steer clear of older black/white titles, especially because I know my father is familiar with the classics (such as the ones you mention); in fact, I’d rather stay away from established classics altogether and rather hear about the lesser-known masterpieces, preferably after 1970, and most preferably 1980s/90s/00s.

I should mention that narrative cohesion is a must, so avant-garde cinema is definitely out.

Vittorio De Sica is my favorite director, period, and he’s made many masterpieces (Umberto D, Shoeshine, The Roof, Bicycle Thieves, etc). His worst one was in English (with Clift)… Luchino Visconti is a very good one, especially “La Terra Trema” (The Earth Trembles) and “Bellisima”

I’m not a big Fellini fan, but my #2 all-time is “La Strada”

Here are some lists giving various people’s choices for the best Italian films since 1970:

My personal favorite Italian films since 1970 are these:

Amarcord (1974, Italy, dir. Federico Fellini)
Army of Shadows (1969, France/Italy, dir. Jean-Pierre Melville)
Seven Beauties (1976, Italy, dir. Lina Wertmuller)
The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978, Italy, dir. Ermanno Olmi)

Yeah, I realize that Army of Shadows is a year early and is actually an French/Italian co-production.

Thanks for the links - I’ll check em out. I saw the movies you’ve mentioned, pretty good, sounds like you prefer the comedy stuff. If you haven’t seen it already, you might like “Il Sorpasso” which is kind of a fun movie… Personally, I prefer conversational movies.

I think that “Life Is Beautiful” is a sweet movie, although it seems like it is kind of a “Love It or Hate It” type film for a lot of people.

Amarcord is a comedy in some ways, I suppose, and there are darkly comic aspects of Seven Beauties, but I wouldn’t call the other two comedies.

Yes, I was thinking of those two and thought it was a preference… Personally, I can’t seem to laugh much at movies labeled as “comedies”, maybe except for one of the final scenes from “Never On Sunday” when Mercouri is throwing “cultured” items while spouting philosophy… I find humor in “Harry and Tonto”, “La Strada”, “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest” (Psychiatrist: I don’t seem to understand; RP: “See, I’m smarter than he is!”), “Buffalo '66”.

Johnny Stecchino
‘A kindhearted but bumbling idiot who likes to steal bananas, is passed off for a snitch hiding from the mob.’

Night On Earth has a segment that takes place in Rome.

(Yes, I like Roberto Benigni.)

Big Night …

Especially if your are a Foodie… (I’m lookin’ at you Johnny)

There’s a short one-character film called “Una Voce Umana” or “The Human Voice.” Sophia Loren gave a quite riveting performance about four years ago.

Matti Pellonpaa is one of my favorite actors, who plays the Finnish cab driver. He’s in a lot of Kaurismaki pictures. My favorite being “Shadows in Paradise”.

Mediterraneo! Okay, it’s set in Greece, but it’s an Italian production with Italian and Greek actors. In WWII, eight guys who are the dregs of the Italian army are sent to a remote Greek island, strategic value zilch, to “observe and report”, meaning stay the hell out of the way. A lot happens, very little of it military, and the ending, or rather both endings, will break your heart.

And MortSahlFan, with ya on Matti P. He’s one of the few actors whose death brought tears to my eyes. You’ve seen Leningrad Cowboys, have you not? :wink: Ditto on Benigni, Johnny L.A..

I saw both Leningrad movies. Matti was great in every movie, including Arvomatt, Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatiana, La vie Boheme, was also great in a supporting role, Ariel, which was the first one I saw of Kaurismaki… As well as a few with Mika.

He also seemed like a really cool guy off the screen. So young. Patrick Dewaere, too, who seemed to enhance every movie he was in.