As 2016 comes to an end we feel compelled to celebrate more than one exciting, inspiring, talented and (most importantly for me) exportable person in Italian cinema.
These people, for diverse reasons, are all changing the face of Italian cinema.
In 2016 Paolo Genovese gave us one of the most important comedies in the history of Italian cinema. Perfetti Sconosciuti (Perfect Strangers) won Best Foreign Screenplay at the Tribeca Film Festival and attracted Americans filmmakers who want to make an American version of it.
With big name stars like Alba Rohrwacher, Marco Giallini, Valerio Mastandrea and Edoardo Leo, this smart, funny comedy reaches far beyond Italian borders tells the story of friends at a dinner party playing a dangerous game with their cell phones.
Actress Paola Cortellesi is important for so many reasons.
First, she’s standing the test of time, having starred in a couple of dozen movies since the year 2000. She started out as a comic, and she’s a comedy genius who transitions easily to drama, and then back again. Most importantly, she’s beloved, and it’s really hard to find anyone who doesn’t love her. Have I ever? I can’t remember meeting anyone with anything bad to say about Italy’s sweetheart, Paola Cortellesi.
No one has brought more world-wide attention to Italian cinema in 2016 than documentary director Gianfranco Rosi. His Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea) won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and is on the short list for the Oscar for Best Documentary.
The theme is arguably the most crucial of 2016, the migrant crisis. In highlighting the tiny Italian island of Lampadusa, Gianfranco tells us about an enormous problem that the world shares: What do we do about the tens of thousands of refugees desperate to escape life-threatening situations.
Love him or hate him, Checco Zalone is the biggest box office hit in the history of Italian Cinema. BY A LOT.
The Fontana sisters, Marianna and Angela, took the 2016 Venice Film Festival by storm in Edoardo De Angelis’s beautiful film Indivisibili (Indivisible). The film itself is award-winning and highly exportable, but the girls go a step beyond. With virtually no acting experience, they are stunning in their role as conjoined twins who are local singing sensations.
I think it is time to recognize the Virzìs, director Paolo Virzì and his actress wife Micaela Ramazzotti, as the power couple to beat all power couples. Together, they have dominated Italian cinema together and separately, most recently with their outstanding collaboration, La Pazza Gioia (Like Crazy).