Newly updated 12/21! Remember, this is JUST since the year 2000!
In no particular order…
1.La Grande BellezzaThe Great Beauty (English Subtitled) For Gep Gambardella, (Toni Servillo) a journalist who wrote an important book years ago and has spent the time since resting on the laurels, everything in life seems like an exaggeration; a vapid, narcissistic, waste of time.
2. La Giovinezza (Youth) Two aging buddies, Mick, a director, played by Harvey Keitel, and Fred, a composer played by Michael Cane, are on holiday together,and both understand that their time on earth is limited, but they are handling their old age in different ways.
3. Il Divo (English Subtitled) Was the Prime Minister incredibly unlucky or undeniably guilty? – that is this film’s question, because in Giulio Andreotti’s 20 some years in office, there were a whole bunch of “unfortunate” assassinations and killings made to look like suicides – people that were creating problems for the Christian Democratic Party.
4. The Young Pope Coming to HBO January 15! The very definition of BINGE-WORTHY!
5 .Anime NereBlack Souls The best film of 2014 is the story of three brothers in a Calabrian crime family.
6. Mia Madre (My Mother) Mia Madre is Moretti’s semi-autobiographical tribute to his mother.
9. Vincere (Winning) In a way, this is just your ordinary “boy’s an abusive pig, girl gets off on abuse” kind of love story, but in this film, the boy is Benito Mussolini.
10.Buongiorno Notte (Good Morning, Night) is Bellocchio’s 2003 story about the 1978 kidnapping and assassination of Aldo Moro, Italian president of the political party, Democrazia Cristiana.
11.Bella AddormentataDormant Beauty (English Subtitled) takes the true life story of the last six days of the life of Eluana Englaro, comatose for 17 years when her family fought for the right to pull the plug and let her die and it shows us, not what was happening to this family, but to various people around her.
12. Racconto Dei Racconti (Tale of Tales) will be in US theaters in 2016 there’s sex, blood, and adult situations, just like the original fairy-tales written in the 1600s by the author, Giambattista Basile, who predated and inspired more well-known story-tellers like the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson.
14. GomorraGomorrah (English Subtitled) is an extremely complicated crime story about the day-to-day operations of the lesser known and yet more prolific crime organization in Italy,the Camorra.
15. La Pazza Gioia (Like Crazy) is a wonderfully quirky Thelma and Louise all’Italiana.
16. Il Capitale UmanoHuman Capital (English Subtitled) Stephen Amidon’s novel about upper crust Connecticut becomes Paolo Virzì’s story of upper crust northern Italy in this stunningly complex drama about money, families going haywire because of it, and a guy on a bike who, one dark snowy night, loses his life and brings theirs into glaringly sharp focus.
17. Caterina Va In Città (Caterina in the City) Caterina must make a choice, because as in any good high school clique system, she can’t be friends with everyone. She must pick the group that will define her and do it quick. So what will it be Caterina – the snobby material girls or the sullen artists?
18. La Prima Cosa BellaThe First Beautiful Thing is about a mom who has a hard time being seen as anything more than a beauty queen, a father who couldn’t accept the attention his hot wife got, and the children and the question of which parent should have raised them.
19 .Baaria Tornatore’s semi-autobiographical tribute to his home town in Sicily.
20. La SconosciutaLa Sconosciuta (The Unknown Woman) is about Irina, a Ukrainian sex slave who has escaped to Italy in search of something and we are left guessing for a long time what that something is. She arrives in a northern Italian town with a big wad of cash, taking a terrible apartment, and intent on ingratiating herself in the lives of a rich Italian family that live across the street from her.
21. Terraferma is about Lampedusa, an island south of Sicily, and tells the tale of a fishing boat captain who runs into a raft filled with African immigrants and loses his boat after he saves them, an act that has been proclaimed illegal by the Italian government.
22. NuovomondoGolden Door (English Subtitled) tells of the realities of an Italian’s immigration to America. Instead of the usual scenes of weary but happy foreigners smiling brightly from a ship’s deck at the first sight of the statue of liberty, Golden Door shows the heartbreak and hardships of preparing for the move, dangers on board the ship, and degradations at Ellis Island.
25. Salvo (English Subtitled) 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.
26. Vergine Giurata (Sworn Virgin) is due out in the US in 2016 and about Hana, the northern Albanian woman who opts for living as a man in order to live her life freely.
27. La Finestra Di FronteFacing Windows is about Giovanna, who for any number of reasons she may have married the wrong guy. She’s smarter, more driven, and more responsible than her husband and is starting to resent having to carry the weight of the entire family. Watching the extremely hot, single neighbor, Lorenzo, played by Raoul Bova, has become her escape from reality.
28. Mine VagantiLoose Cannons (English Subtitled) is warm, sweet, and at times very funny about Antonio,the family’s patriarch, who has just disowned his son for coming out and has another one in the wings.
29 .Io Non Ho Paura(I’m Not Scared) Ten year old Michele finds Fillipo in chains in a hole in the ground covered with a sheet of metal and you might think that his first instinct would be to tell the adults – to get help. But Michele knows that the adults, even his own parents, are not to be trusted. As he begins to understand more about what’s going on he’s compelled to help Filippo.
30 .La Mafia Uccide Solo D’Estate(The Mafia Only Kills In The Summer) is a clever child’s eye view of what it’s like for a city to live under the mafia’s thumb.
31 .La Bestia Nel Cuore (Don’t Tell) was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign film in 2006, and is the story of a young woman who has vague memories of sexual abuse and seeks out her brother, Andrea, in America to find the truth
32.Viva La Libertà(Long Live Liberty) is about Enrico Oliveri, the secretary of the major opposition party, who goes AWOL and hides out at an old girlfriend’s house in Paris (“What’s he doing here, Mom?” ” I think he just needs a little rest.”), an absurd and Pirandello-esque scenario works surprisingly well.
33. Cloro (Chlorine) 17-year-old Jenny is a normal teenager from Ostia who loves her friends and her synchronized swimming team, but her mother dies, and her world falls apart.
Marco Tullio Giordana
34.La Meglio Gioventù (The Best of Youth) follows two brothers from the ’60s to the 21st century in Italy.
35. I Cento Passi (The Hundred Steps) is true life story of the murder of political activist Peppino Impastato who spoke out against organized crime.
36.Le Meraviglie (The Wonders) Young Rohrwacher surprised everyone when her second feature-length film, won the Grand Prix at Cannes. Even me. Quiet, slow-moving, artistically filmed, it’s about a pre-teen girl in an eccentric beekeeping family.
37. Io Sono L’AmoreI Am Love (English Subtitled) Not even her family had seen that she wasn’t who she was pretending to be for all those years, but when Antonio asked Emma about being Russian, it was as if no one had acknowledged it for a very long time.
Ivano De Matteo
38. I Nostri RagazziThe Dinner is a movie version of Herman Koch’s The Dinner, in which a major part of the dialogue takes place over the course of one unpleasant evening, but De Matteo’s movie’s more natural plot progression and the changing settings in the movie are more natural and less claustrophobic. De Matteo ultimately “fixes” all the problems of the book.
39. Hungry HeartsHungry Hearts A chance meeting in the bathroom of a New York City Chinese restaurant brings Jude, a young American engineer and Mina, an Italian girl working for the embassy together and a pregnancy seals the deal. But the romantic idea of throwing caution to the wind and marrying someone you know too little about is a bad one for Jude.
Gianni Di Gregorio
40. Pranzo Di FerragostoMid-August Lunch (English Subtitled) is about an unemployed, middle aged Roman who lives with his 93 year old mother and starts babysitting and cooking for all the other old ladies in his neighborhood.
41. Non Ti Muovere (Don’t Move) was first a very dark, disturbing book written by Margaret Mazzantini and then it became a very dark, disturbing movie directed by and starring her husband,Castellitto, who plays Timoteo, a prominent surgeon/debaucher. His co-star is Penelope Cruz in one of the most unflattering roles ever in the history of the movies – Italia, the prostitute
Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
42 .Cesare Deve MorireCaesar Must Die uses real inmates at a real maximum security prison in Rome who are staging 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.
43. SuburraThere are no good guys in Sollima’s new film, Suburra, and if you require a hero for your movie enjoyment, it’s really going to depend on your definition of the word.
44. La Doppia OraThe Double Hour (English Subtitles) has something that not many modern Italian movies have – a fear factor! There were a few things that made me jump right out of my seat, and I found myself covering my eyes. And it was done in the best kind of way; the threat was hidden in the shadows, waiting to jump out and say “boo” at any given moment.
45 .Il Giovane Favoloso (Leopardi) is about 19th century Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi, the ill and deformed poet who enjoyed success and popularity in his lifetime, and yet lived it, for the most part, in pain and suffering. A severe curvature of the spine, most likely caused by Potts disease (spinal tuberculosis) worsened as years progress and eventually caused his death from what is believed to be pulmonary edema at age 39.
46. Luce Dei Miei OcchiLight of My Eyes (English Subtitled) Antonio is doing all kind of crazy, dangerous things to help Maria and risks his life and his job for this woman that has shown no real interest in him. “Sorry, I’m not that excited by you,” she tells him, “but I warned you.”