I don’t know if you can have a conversation about great, modern Italian directors without mentioning Silvio Soldini. In the US he’s mostly known for my favorite movie of all time, Pane e Tulipani (Bread and Tulips), and I think he’s sometimes considered a lightweight and that Bread and Tulips is entertaining but unsubstantial. I disagree; it’s brilliant filmmaking and I’ve watched it a hundred times, always seeing or thinking something new in it.
And Soldini, born in ’58, has done so much more; he may be one of the most prolific if not most talented directors today and has worked with some of Italy’s best actors. Better still, many of his movies are available to watch instantly on Netflix.
His characters are all very unique and authentic, revealing in the end things that we would not have guessed in the beginning. In an interview, Soldini said, “I find it unbearable when characters are structured like little caricatures. I like to tell about characters that are penalized by their appearance, that don’t show what they are really.”
In 2010 he made Cosa voglio di più (Come Undone), a stark look at infidelity starring Pierfrancesco Favino and Alba Rohrwacher.
In 2007, he made Giorni e Nuvole (Days and Clouds) with Margherita Buy and Antonio Albanese. Days and Clouds is the story of a successful couple that suddenly falls on hard times when the husband, played by Albanese, loses his job. It’s a fascinating look at what we need to be happy, self-image, and self-respect and though Margherita Buy won best actress in the David di Donatello competition and a Nastro d’argento, the movie and the rest of the cast deserved more recognition.
Opening soon in Italy: Il Comandante e la Cicogna, (The Commander and the Stork), a story about a widowed working-class father who falls in love with a struggling artist starring Valerio Mastandrea, Alba Rohrwacher, Claudia Gerini, Luca Zingaretti, and Giuseppe Battiston.