1) It’s Easier To Find Italian Movies These Days. Though there is still the problem of distribution laws and what can and can’t be legally streamed, there are still plenty of opportunities to find good films with Netflix, Amazon, Pay Per View, and iTunes. Cinema Made In Italy, major new initiative between Cinecittà Luce, the Italian Trade Commission and Emerging Pictures is doing a wonderful job of bringing films that would not otherwise be available to cities all over the US.
2) That La Grande Bellezza won the Academy Award for best foreign film this year is important for a few reasons. First, Italy got real about the film that it submitted, choosing one that could win, and second, Paolo Sorrentino, just as De Sica, Fellini, and Pasolini did before him, showed the world that Italy still has what it takes to make a beautiful, classic film.
3) The Comedies. I’m not saying that Italian comedies weren’t funny before, only that I didn’t really get them. These new ones; I’m laughing. From Checco Zalone to Pierfranceso Diliberto’s La Mafia Uccide Solo D’Estate to Sydney Sibilia’s Smetto Quando Voglio, it’s clear that new young minds are focused on a new universal idea of what makes people laugh.
4) Crossovers. Everybody’s Doing It. Italian directors are making movies in English with English-speaking actors, and Italian actors are appearing in films outside of Italy like never before. Matteo Garrone’s new Tale of Tales will star Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel and John C. Reilly. Paolo Sorrentino’s newest, The Early Years, stars Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano and Michael Caine. Tilda Swinton is working on a new movie with Luca Guadagnino. And it looks like we are finally going to see Riccardo Scamarcio on American screens with films from Abel Ferrara and Emma Thompson.
5) Good Looking Actors. Micaela Ramazzotti. Riccardo Scamarcio. Pierfrancesco Diliberto. Cristiana Capotondi. Luca Argentero. Filippo Timi. I could go on forever, but you get the idea.
6) Thank God David di Donatello woke up and smelled the coffee. The Italian Academy Awards were becoming a joke, giving prizes to the same old faces every year, ignoring fresh new talent, and starting to look like an “old boys club”. Margherita Buy, you know I love you, but it was time to move over and give someone else a chance, and this year, she did.
7 ) The Death of Cinepanettone. I could be wrong, but I think they are going to finally stop letting Christian De Sica make terrible Christmas movies about boobs ( the breasts and the idiot kind of boobs).
8) An Explosion of Exciting New Directors. New works have been popping up a dizzying pace; Pierfrancesco Diliberto, Sydney Sibilia, Fabio Grassadonia, Antonio Piazza (Salvo) , and Alessandro Rossetto (Piccola Patria), to name a few, have been overshadowing some of the bigger named directors with some truly stunning work.
9) Experienced Directors Really Hitting Their Stride. Daniele Lucchetti has been at this for a while, but Anni Felici is a masterpiece, and Paolo Sorrentino has hit the “legend in his own time” status.
10) You Want To Be Cutting Edge; don’t you? Be the first, not the last, in your crowd to know who Toni Servillo is. When everyone else is figuring out that Italian cinema is back, you can be the one to say “I told you so.”