1) If you absolutely require explosions, galactic battles and fancy special effects, you’ll probably never get attatched to Italian movies, but if you appreciate low budget/anti-Hollywood movies, you’re in luck. Italian directors can’t, even it they want to, make big budget blockbusters, but what they do with small budgets and non-professional actors is truly amazing.
If you like thrillers, check out La Doppia Ora (The Double Hour), made for less than 3 million euro and starring two great actors Filippo Timi and Kseniya Rappoport. Watch it for $2.99 on YouTube:
2) I know what you’re gonna say; Checco Zalone isn’t exactly Marcello Mastroianni, but he is the new Totò, maybe bigger, and he will change the face of Italian cinema. Personally, I love him and I’m not embarrassed to say it. And when I mention his name to Italians, they get a big smile and start laughing. He’s not highbrow humor, but he’s hilarious.
3) Paolo Sorrentino; do I really have to say any more? Clearly one of today’s most gifted directors in any country, he’s my hope for this year’s Academy Awards with his newest, La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty).
5) If you want to see something special and you are a customer of Time Warner Cable, right now you can watch Reality from director Matteo Garrone, a remarkable film starring non-professional actor Aniello Arena, currently serving a life sentence, he worked on the film through a prison release program.
6) She’s not just a beautiful actress; Valeria Golino has moved on to new level of fame as a director. Her film Miele has been winning awards at film festivals all over the place, including Cannes.
7) I don’t care what anybody says, Toni Servillo is a superstar. He won a special Nastro d’argento for his role in Sorrentino’s La Grande Bellezza and his filmography is beyond impressive, including movies that are easy to rent in the US like Sorrentino’s Il Divo and Garrone’s Gomorrah.
8) Documentary from director Gianfranco Rosi ‘Sacro GRA’ won the Leone d’Oro and also the hearts of the audience at the Venice Film Festival. The applause was thunderous and long for this gem about the people who live around Rome’s biggest highway.
9) It’s not one of the top ten, but for a film festival that is relatively young, debuting in 2006, the Rome Film Festival is really gaining ground. This year it will open with the new Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire former Venice Film Festival director Marco Mueller has been working to include other pre-Thanksgiving Hollywood movies by adding a 2,000-seat venue. Running Nov. 8-17 and could possibly premier Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” for which Paramount has set a Nov. 15 U.S. release date.