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Italian Cinema

1) Bicycle Thief
Many critics consider this Oscar-winning classic to be one of the greatest films ever made. Vittorio De Sica used non-professional actors to tell the simple, human tragedy of a working man whose bike, which he needs for his job, is stolen, sending him and his son on a harrowing search through the streets of Rome.

2) Bitter Rice
Silvana Mangano became an international sensation with her performance as a shapely city woman working in the rice fields of Italy's Po Valley after World War II. The sexy Mangano is caught in a love triangle with the respectable Raf Vallone and the unscrupulous Vittorio Gassman. A Neo-Realist classic.

3) Ciao Professore!
A tender and often hilarious comedy from Lina Wertmuller centering on a teacher who is mistakenly assigned to a third-grade class in an
impoverished town in Southern Italy. The teacher soon faces the Mafia, truancy, and pupils with family problems while trying to steer his students in the right direction.

4) Cinema Paradiso
A charming, bittersweet tribute to the power of movies which won 1989's Best Foreign Film Academy Award. A film director looks back on his childhood in Sicily, where he served as an apprentice to the projectionist at his small town's only movie theater. Giuseppe Tornatore directs.

5) Death in Venice
Luchino Visconti's brilliant version of Thomas Mann's classic story. Dirk Bogarde stars as a jaded, middle-aged composer on holiday on Venice who spots a handsome young boy on the beach. His doomed obsession with the youth renews his interest in living.

6) Divorce, Italian Style
Marvelous, Oscar-winning farce starring Marcello Mastroianni as a man facing mid-life crisis who discovers it's easier to kill his annoying wife than divorce her. Eventually he falls for a gorgeous younger woman, played by Stefania Sandrelli.

7) The Garden of The Finzi-Continis
Director Vittorio De Sica's Oscar-winning drama centers around an upper-class Jewish family living in Fascist Italy, oblivious at first to the growing tide of anti-Semitism that soon threatens their existence.

8) Il Postino
Lovely romance set in a small Italian town during the 1950s where exiled Chilean poet Pablo Nerudo has taken refuge. A shy mailman befriends the poet and uses his words - and, ultimately, the writer himself - to help him woo a woman whom he has fallen in love. With
Philippe Noiret and Massimo Troisi (who died a day after filming ended).

9) La Strada
Federico Fellini's Oscar-winning study of members of a travelling circus troupe, as a brutal strongman uses a simpleminded woman who loves him, forcing her to find solace with a good-hearted clown.

10) Seven Beauties/Le Sette Bellezze
Giancarlo Giannini stars in Lina Wertmuller's dark serio-comedy as a small-time hood in WWII Italy trying to support his sisters. His desperate attempts to stay alive take him from jail to a mental hospital, and eventually put him in the hands of an obese concentration camp commandant.

From  Italian Cinema site:
Italy is known for producing movies that combine slapstick comedy with serious social themes, a combination found in all of the 5 best Italian comedy movies. Italian comedy is an acquired taste that more American audiences ought to sample.

1."Big Deal on Madonna Street" ("I Soliti Ignoti") This 1958 film--also released in the United States as "Persons Unknown"--is considered the first great film in the Italian comic tradition. It masterfully uses a crime-splattered plot to push its comedy to the extreme. It’s a heist movie and, of course, the heist obviously goes wrong ... very wrong. Starring two of the greatest Italian film stars ever, Marcello Mastroianni and Toto (albeit in a minor role), the film is directed like a straightforward crime drama yet the continual missteps in the attempt to rob a government-type pawn shop full of treasure creates wonderful comedy. An American remake "Crackers" in 1984 went woefully wrong, but a Woody Allen remake "Small Time Crooks" (2000) fared a bit better. But forgot those flicks and see the original to understand the best of early Italian comedy.

2."Divorce--Italian Style" ("Divorzio all'italiana") Pietro Germi’s 1961 comedy was another like "Big Deal" that solidified Italy as a country with some great comic chops. The plot, which is full of funny twists, involves a man who has a mistress and wants to divorce his wife; however, divorce is not possible. Therefore, he decides to kill her, but finds her having her own affair. Comic craziness ensues. The screenplay won an Oscar and the witty wordplay and action justify it.

3."La Dolce Vita" Directed by legendary Federico Fellini, this 1960 movie is yet another star vehicle for Mastroianni. "La Dolce Vita" achieves some of its greatness from having an underlying comic sensibility during the dark journey Marcello Rubini takes through the decadent corridors of his life on a search for the title’s “sweet life.” Some might not call it one of the best Italian comic movies, but it is dead-on with its satire. Roger Ebert calls it “a cautionary tale of a man without a center,” which points to the film’s serious nature. Still, the religious imagery and the sense of Rubini descending into Dante’s inferno of nightlife decadence develops the comedy found in excesses—of sex especially (the orgy scenes were very controversial at the time, but tame by today’s standards).

4."Amarcord" ("I Remember") Widely considered to be Fellini’s best film, this 1973 memoir-comedy of characters in a small Italian village records small absurdities and lends a loving, comic eye to them all. Like a typical Flannery O’Connor short story, "Amarcord" shows a sincere regard for its characters, while making fun of their idiosyncrasies. Women stand out in this film. There is the lovely hairdresser Gradisca on whom whole town pins its hopes and desires and the barefoot and crazy prostitute Volpina whose laughter evokes our own, not pity. Lastly, no one can forget the shop owner whose huge bosom fascinates and “envelops” the young boy narrator in one of the movie’s classic scenes.

5."Life is Beautiful" ("La vita Ŕ bella"). Americans are probably familiar with this 1997 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film. The star, writer and director Roberto Benigni also won an acting Oscar for the film, reminiscent of early Italian comedies in their stark realism. You can’t get more darkly realistic than having a comedy set in a Holocaust concentration camp and then proceeding to say life is beautiful at the same time. Guido is a clown—a hotel waiter who can’t help but be goofy, lovable and over-the-top. So, as Guido, Benigni wins over the audience and you want to take the journey with him through the beauty and joy of his life. You just might not think it would work to go with him to the death camp. The continual work of hiding reality from his son while there constitutes the tragicomic genius of the movie. While many found this mixture offensive, the integrity of the comedy and the movie itself lies in the exploration of Guido’s character: the only tool he has for his circumstances is comedy and you have to admire that.
10 Best Italian Comedy Movies

The 10 best Italian comedy movies include films made in the English language and those made in Italian including English subtitles. Italian comedy is a serious area of study for film students. The comedy after World War II that set the mood for comedy is sometimes referred as part of the neorealism, realistic comedy.

1."Divorce, Italian Style." This well-known Italian comedy, directed by Pietro Germi is a seminal film that was used by Vittorio De Sica as an inspiration for "Marriage, Italian Style." The film stars Marcello Mastroianni, Daniela Rocca, Stefania Sandrelli and Leopoldo Trieste and was released by Embassy Pictures Corporation in 1962.

2."La Dolce Vita." Starring such acting greats as Marcello Mastroianni, this Italian comedy was directed by Federico Fellini in 1960. The title means the good life and the main character's seemingly entertaining life as a newspaper reporter is interrupted by more serious self-examination when he explores his love, life and work. The movie was nominated for four American Academy Awards.

3."Life is Beautiful." This 1997 release stars Roberto Benigni, Giorgio Cantarini and Nicoletta Braschi. Benigni also wrote and directed the movie about life during World War II. The film won American Academy Awards for best director and best foreign film.

4."Marriage, Italian Style." Released in 1964 and directed under the film master Vittorio De Sica, Matrimonio all'italiana describes a tale of a businessman and his mistress. The man intends to dump his wife and remarry, but not for his longtime mistress. The comedy stars Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni in the title roles, with Aldo Puglisi, Tecla Scarano, Marilu Tolo, Gianni Ridolfi and Generoso Cortini in supporting parts.
5."Big Deal on Madonna Street." This 1958 film directed by Mario Monicelli stars Vittorio Gassman and Claudia Cardinale. A group of thieves attempt a robbery at the local pawnshop only to start a comedy of errors to avoid detection. The movie was later released with English subtitles under the title "Persons Unknown in the UK."

6."The Monsters", aka "I mostri." This best Italian comedy movie directed by Dino Risi in 1963, not to be confused with the American animated film, and was followed by "The New Monsters" in 1977. The film revolves around twenty episodes all starring Vittorio Gassman and Ugo Tognazzi. Some segments were removed with the re-release under the titles "15 from Rome" and "Opiate '67."
7."Johnny Stecchino." Released in 1991, this film was made under the direction Roberto Benigni. The film also stars Benigni as the main character Dante who is a poor public employee is talked into impersonating the husband of a wealthy woman who in real life is married to the mob.

8."The Great War." Director Mario Monicelli takes on the tough topic of war and adds a comedy slant in this 1959 film featuring Alberto Sordi and Vittorio Gassman. The film was nominated for the "Best Foreign Film" award for 1959 at the American Academy Awards.

9."Tea with Mussolini." Franco Zeffirelli directed this odd 1999 Italian comedy movie about an illegitimate son of a businessman. The film stars Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith and Judi Dench and presents autobiographical elements from Zeffirelli's own life.

10."The Icicle Thief." Released in 1989, this film directed by Maruizio Nichetti, mocks the media industry. A dramatic film shown on television is cut into commercials to create an odd blend between the drama and the consumer advertisements.
11 -- Amici Miei (1975)
July 19, 1976
Screen: 'My Friends,' Italian Comedy:4 Middle-Aged Men in the Provinces Outrageous Practical Jokes in a Parable

12 --  Il ciclone" of Leonardo Piraccioni



Io Non Ho Paura".
Panini and Tulipani."(Bread and Tulips),
"The Leopard."
" Tutti Beni"

 - The 1000 Euros Generation - Generazione Mille Euro  

- Basilicata Coast to Cost

- Hayfever - Febbre Da Fieno

- The Thin Match Man - L'Uomo Fiammifero

- One Hundred Nails - Centochiodi

   What a History! - Ma Che Storia!


 Italian Comedy Mini Film Festival

Pranzo Di Ferragosto (Mid-August Lunch) 2008 Italy
Rome, mothers, comedy, food, holiday, Ferragosto, guests, Italy

Scusa ma ti chiamo amore (Sorry, if I love you) 2008 Italy
Rome, romance, comedy,love, jealousy, cheating, marketing, lighthouse, friends, Italy

Scusa ma ti voglio sposare (Sorry, if I want to marry you) Italy 2010 Rome, romance, comedy, love, marriage, jealousy, cheating, marketing, friends, Italy

La Passione (The Passion) 2010 Italy
Tuscany, director, play, Passion of the Christ, hill town, comedy, unemployment, actors, Italy

Generazione mille euro (1000 Euro Generation) 2009 Italy
Milan, Barcelona, comedy, youth, contract work, roommates, job, marketing, physics, teaching, dreams, 1000 Euro Generation, Italy

Tutta la vita davanti (Your Whole Life Ahead of You) 2008 Italy
Milan, Palermo, comedy, youth, contract work, roommates, job, telemarketing, philosophy, teaching, dreams, 1000 Euro Generation, Italy

Figli Delle Stelle (Children of the Stars) 2010 Italy
Venice, Rome, Valle d’Aosta, death, crime, kidnapping, comedy, farce, government, corruption, Italy

.Si Puo Fare (It can be done) 2008 Italy
Milan, comedy, cooperative, 1980s, mental institution, insane asylum, patients, crazy, dignity, treatment, drugs, tragedy, uplifting, Italy

. . Here’s to La Dolce Vita!
Italians are funny and I can't help but smile when I think of their emphatic ways of communicating. Combine that comedy with iconic Italian themes like mothers, food, love, youth, fashion, and of course passion, then you've got the makings of a great Italian Comedy!


Join us on a cinematic tour of Italy as we take a road trip down the Calabrian coastline (18 Years Later),
walk across beautiful Basilicata (Basilicata Coast to Coast),
ferry through the Venetian lagoon (Ten Winters),
bicycle in Milan (Happy Family),
take a train across Puglia (The CÚzanne Affair),
romp through the fields of Abruzzo (The Thin Match Man),
zip across Liguria on a Vespa (The First Beautiful Thing)
and soar above Rome (Hayfever)
--all while in the comfortable seats of a venue near you
Developed by Italian Film Festival USA
Cinema Paradiso", -- la musica Ŕ fantastica
Study of Immigration experience per books/movies:
1 Tree of Wooden Clogs
5 The Leopard

1 ) Customs and Habits of the Sicilian Peasants, edited and translated by
Rosalie N. Norris: written by Salvatore Salomone-Marion, 1897.
2. "The Fortunate Pilgrim", by Mario Puzo...written in 1964,
3. The Leopard

Italians in America? - And They Came To Chicago

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