Next time she wants to watch something foreign, tell her OK, but you’re picking it out.
The subtitles, the sweeping symphonic soundtracks, the melodrama; I get where you’re coming from. Your wife or girlfriend has dragged you to one too many Italian films like Cinema Paradiso or Il Postino and you think they are all like that.
Surprise! There are some choices you might not find quite so girlie.
In this cool new movie available from Netflix, they live by the sword and they die by the sword: There’s Manfredi (Adamo Dionisi), the head of the gypsy loansharks, Number 8 (Alessandro Borghi), the “prince” of the Ostian underworld and Viola (Greta Scarano), his drug-addict girlfriend, Malgradi (Pierfrancesco Favino), the dirty politician, Sebastiano (Elio Germano), the nightclub owner,and the ‘Samurai’ (Claudio Amendola) the powerful boss that pulls all of their strings. Everybody wants power and money. Everybody’s vulnerable and nobody is safe.
Based on a novel by Gioacchino Criaco and directed by Francesco Munzi, “Black Souls” is being called by some “the new Gomorra”, but Anime Nere’s story of organized crime has a more compelling narrative. In it, three brothers from a Calabrian crime family see the future of the family’s heroin/goat herding organization in different ways.
The Taviani Brothers cast real inmates at a real maximum security prison in Rome who are stage a production of Julius Caesar. These inmates, nearly all incarcerated for drug trafficking or organized crime activity, played all the parts in the production and used it as an opportunity to tell their own stories as well as Shakespeare’s.
“We said they could use any name they like and make up biographical details but none did, they all told their real stories,” said Paolo Taviani. “They realized this film would be seen in theaters, maybe by people, by friends, who had forgotten them. This was their way of crying out: We’re here! We’re alive!”
Gomorrah, directed by Matteo Garrone, is an extremely complicated crime story about the day-to-day operations of the crime organization in Italy,the Camorra and the hard life of the normal people living in its grip. As we are reminded at the end of the film, the Camorra has killed more people than any other organized crime groups. They are the 3rd biggest in the world, sell more drugs than any other, and have invested their gains in legitimate businesses all over the world, including the reconstruction of the twin towers.
Pierfrancesco “Pif” Diliberto, Italian TVs answer to Jon Stewart’s first movie is a clever child’s eye view of what it was like for normal people living under the mafia’s thumb in 1980s and 90s Palermo. Diliberto directed, starred in, and cowrote this uniquely entertaining take on a very serious theme, the mafia’s killing spree that resulted in the deaths of judges, politicians, and police officers and reached fever pitch with the famous “Maxi-Trial”.
If you are a hit man for the mafia, when do you consider yourself a success; when do you know that you’ve “made it”?
For Salvo, more lonely gunslinger than slick mafioso, any joy he’s ever gotten from the proficiency of his chosen profession seems to have been sucked out of him. That his landlords kowtow to him as if he is a king that might at any minute say, “Off with their heads!” is cold comfort in his emotionless routine, and the convenience of having subservients at his beck and call to keep the cops off his back is expected, not appreciated.
So when Salvo arrives for a hit and finds his target’s blind sister, Rita, home alone, we really don’t see any clues as to why he doesn’t immediately whack her. She’s pretty? She’s blind? Whatever the reason for the mercy he shows her, it doesn’t extend to her brother. He does the job that he’s arrived to do, and then kidnaps Rita.
Kim Rossi Stewart is a kind of pretty boy, but in Angel of Evil he plays one convincing low-life thug as Vallenzasca, the guy who is currently serving four consecutive life sentences with an additional 290 years in a Milanese prison but for a decade wreaking havoc with Italy, outsmarting the police and the prison system, robbing banks, kidnapping, murdering, inciting riots in prison and periodically breaking out of it. The movie pretty accurately follows the real criminal’s real life, and portrays Vallanzasca’s (somewhat askew) code of honor and old-fashioned values and his success with the ladies, earning him the nickname “il bel René”. He believed that he wasn’t such a bad guy, and used the media to help him get public support.
Unfortunately, Checco Zalone’s films have not been distributed in the US, but if you ever get a chance to see Cado Dalle Nubi, Che Bella Giornata, Sole A Catinelle, or his latest, Quo Vado, don’t miss it. Checco is the hottest thing in Italy right now and is Larry, Moe and Curley all rolled up into one hilarious mess.
The Palio is the oldest horse race in the world, and turns the Italian city of Siena into a high-stakes battleground of strategy, intrigue, and simmering machismo. In the eye of the storm stand the jockeys – adored if they succeed, despised if they fail. PALIO follows the legendary maestro Gigi Bruschelli, winner of 13 races and master of the intrigues that surround the Palio, and his former protégé Giovanni Atzeni, a handsome young contender driven by a fearless passion to become number one. This heart-racing new film exposes the notoriously closed world of this ancient race and the larger-than-life personalities of those involved in an epic and cinematic tale of Italian life in microcosm.
OK this coming of age movie is a little girlie (in a good way), but it’s about a guy, his penis, and a particular problem he has with it. It’ll take a kindly prostitute, a punk rock girl, and a practical doctor to rescue him from his terrible fate, and I’m not spoiling anything to tell you that he is, of course, rescued. This is a comedy, not a tragedy.