5 classics of Italian cinema to watch during the lockdown

So here are some Italian films that you can opt for after a long day of smart working or online classes.

As we are bound to stay inside for a while and be responsible towards our society, it is more than likely that you don’t know what to watch next on streaming services. So here are some Italian films that you can opt for after a long day of smart working or online classes that will lighten up your mood and add a touch of Italy to your evening. 

La Dolce Vita 

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. So, watch and learn all about the concept of ‘dolce vita’ in this Fellini classic. Not only Federico Fellini is one of the most influential film directors in Italy, he also spent the majority of his life in Rome, creating his marvelous works in these streets that we walk every day. The film is based on a week in the life of Marcello, a ‘paparazzo’ journalist in Rome, as he follows around new stories and deals with his personal struggles in the meantime. Surrounded by luxury extravaganza, he almost feels trapped in this cycle, unable to achieve his real ambitions. 

The movie might be called ‘sweet life’, but make no mistake, accompanied by some gorgeous scenes from 60s Rome, you’ll enjoy a well-structured story plot that is about the reality behind the glam! 

Cinema Paradiso 

An Academy Award-winning film, Cinema Paradiso is one of the most popular Italian movies of all times and should be watched at least once in a lifetime.

The story talks about Salvatore di Vita, a famous film director, and his childhood in a small Sicilian village. Through flashbacks, he remembers the times he spent as a child in the local movie theater ‘Cinema Paradiso’ and the meaningful relationship he had with Alfredo the projectionist, which lay the foundation for the career he has as an adult. On a side note, the soundtrack is by Ennio Morricone, which adds to the appeal! 

*The film has two versions, so make sure that you are watching the ‘new version’ that is also known as the ‘director’s cut’.

It started in Naples 

 

Here is another 60s masterpiece to warm your heart during the lockdown days. The film stars huge names as Clark Gable, Sophia Loren, Vittorio de Sica and is set in Rome, Naples and Capri!

The story starts as Michael, an American lawyer, travels to Italy to take care of some family matters and meets Lucia, a cabaret singer who has been taking care of his nephew.

Spoiler alert: even though their meeting is initially for organizational purposes, there is a spark between them and things suddenly take a different turn. During the film, you’ll also get to watch Sophia Laurent perform the famous song ’tu vuò fà l'americano’. A great way to improve your mood when you’re feeling down!

Life is Beautiful 

 

Another Academy-Award winning film, ‘La vita è Bella’ by Roberto Benigni is about the relationship of a father and son during their time in a Nazi concentration camp.

Once they are brought to the camp and are separated from the rest of their family, Guido tries to protect his son Giosuè from the reality of the situation by making up a game. The film has two opposing realities: humorous, playful interactions that will make you smile and the tragedy of the Holocaust.

It is overall heartbreaking and will most definitely bring tears to your eyes but perfectly depicts the horrifying events of WWII. In fact, the film was inspired by the life story of Rubino Romeo Salmoni, an Italian writer who was a holocaust survivor.

Benvenuti al sud

 

It is a question whether this film can already be classified as a classic since it is from 2010, but it quickly became one of the most popular contemporary Italian comedies. By the end credits, you are guaranteed to have a good laugh and a massive craving for some southern Italian food!

The film is based on the differences between northern Italian and southern Italian families and the prejudices that they have on each other’s lifestyles. A family of three from Brianza relocates to the small town of Castellabate and as they get accustomed to the town they start developing a completely unexpected appreciation for the southern culture. Once you admire the breath-taking views, you might even start planning a trip to this little town to experience the southern hospitality yourself. If you can’t get enough, there is also the sequel: Benvenuti al Nord.

For a complete experience, try watching the films in original version with subtitles. Plus, what a better way to practice your Italian?

Remember, though, that these are only suggestions to start off with. Italian cinema has endless great options such as Bicycle Thieves, 8 1/2, Il Postino: The Postman, Marriage Italian Style, all the classics by Totò the ‘prince of laughter’ and many, many more. It would be impossible to cover them all, so get comfortable in your social distancing and start discovering!