The Italian film season came to a sudden end in early March 2020. As the world’s first country, public life in Italy came to a complete standstill due to the corona crisis. The cinemas have been closed and films have not been released since. Production is also completely stopped.
For example, films by Nanni Moretti, Cristina Comencini and Carlo Verdone are collecting dust. Francesco Bruni’s film should also have been released. The title is very topical: ‘Andrà tutto bene’ (‘Everything will be alright’: the hashtag of hope used in Italy during the crisis).
Also the distribution of the last James Bond film, which is partly set in Matera (Italy), has been postponed to the fall of 2020.
I made a couple of lists of this season’s films (summer 2019 to february 2020). Pick your favorite Italian film as you wait for the release of the lockdown.
- Italian movies with highest box office 2020
- Italian mainstream quality film in 2020
- Italian indie quality movies in 2020
- Italian movies to be seen on a streaming service 2020
As a member of the film committee of Rome’s Foreign Press Club, that organizes the annual and prestigious Globo d’oro film awards, I have an good overview of Italian productions.
I. Italian quality film on NETFLIX
Netflix only has a few interesting movies in its portfolio. For the best films, we even have to go back two years:
- Lazzaro Felice. Beautiful story (top prize for best screenwriting in Cannes) of the dreamy boy “Lazarus” who is a victim in past and present (2018).
- Sulla mia pelle. To my knowledge the first Italian Netflix (co-)production. Strong film about police brutality. Film won major awards, including the Globo d´Oro from our own Foreign Press Club in Rome (2018).
- Dogman. Garrone’s masterpiece about a marginalized man who takes a gruesome revenge. Actor Marcello Fonte was also a winner at the Cannes Film Festival 2018.
- The Two Popes. There is actually not much Italian about this film: production and actors are not Italians, even the two popes are not (one is Argentinian, the other German). Fortunately, the locations (Rome, Caprarola, Caserta) are (2019).
- Ultrà. Netflix newest acquisition (released March 20, 2020). Ultrà is the name of the most fanatical supporters at Italian clubs. This ‘football supporter movie’ exalts a bit too much the violence between a bunch of fighters from Naples and Rome.
II. Italian INDIE QUALITY films in 2020
- Il Sindaco del Rione Sanità. Convincing adaptation of a play by Eduardo De Filippo, in which a 40-year-old camorra boss shows himself as an unofficial champion of justice in the difficult Neapolitan neighborhood of Sanità. Trailer.
- A Tor Bella Monaca non piove mai. This film takes us to a poorly regarded suburb of Rome. We see the misery of the key actors with their worn-out heads (the best belongs to Andrea Sartoretti) unable to get out of the misery. Trailer.
- Il Grande Salto. Two thieves manage nonetheless their clumsiness to make a fortune. Despite original inventions, funny scenes, two street smart actors, this movie has been a flop. To be reconsidered. Trailer.
- Nevia. This (first) work of Nunzia De Stefano is another proof that Naples has become an important center for film making. The movie is about a 14-year-old girl in a poor container district who is chasing her dreams. Trailer.
- Picciridda. The story of an 11-year-old girl who lives in a closed society dominated by the silence of the unsaid. Nice performance of Marta Castiglia in her role as the girl or ‘picciridda’ in Sicilian. Trailer.
III. Italian MAINSTREAM QUALITY films in 2020
- Hammamet. Pierfrancesco Favino gets into the character and takes the appearance (puffy face, bald skull) of Bettino Craxi, the powerful politician who was ultimately chucked out and died alone in Hammamet in Tunisia. Trailer.
- Martin Eden. In this film based on Jack London’s novel, California has been exchanged for Naples. Luca Marinelli is an excellent Martin Eden. An Italianate name would be more appropriate in this very Italian (co-)production. How does Martino Ederle sounds? Trailer.
- Gli anni più belli. Melancholy looking back to Rome of the 80s with the best Italian actors of the moment, such as Pierfrancesco Favino and Claudio Santamaria. A slick film by ‘Hollywood’-director Gabriele Muccino. Trailer.
- Tutto il mio folle amore. Road movie by Gabriele Salvatores (known for the Oscar-winning film ‘Mediterraneo’) in which father and autistic son take a trip from Trieste to Slovenia and Croatia. Trailer.
- L’immortale. We know Marco D’Amore from the successful tv series Gomorra. In this violent, yet powerful film in the camorra genre D’Amore impresses as the main character and director (his debut). Trailer.
IV. Italian movies with HIGHEST BOX OFFICE 2020
- Tolo tolo. Like every film of comedian Checco Zalone, this movie, that pokes lightly fun of migration, is firmly on one. Trailer.
- Il primo natale. Home-grown comedies score well in Italy. The duo Salvatore Ficarra and Valentino Picone rewrite the birth story of Jesus without becoming too trivial. Trailer.
- Pinocchio. Matteo Garrone, with Paolo Sorrentino the most acclaimed Italian director, gives a new boost to the well-known story of Collodi. The leading role is for Roberto Benigni, who himself directed a (not so successful) Pinocchio film 15 years ago. Trailer.
- Me contro Te Il Film – La Vendetta del Signor S. The success of this movie is a total surprise, and is helped by the fact that the creators are a famous youtube duo, that is very popular with young children. Trailer.
- La dea fortuna. Ferzan Ozpetek, a Turkish born and naturalized Italian director, is known for his sensitive films starring Rome (and gay relationships). Trailer.
Featured Photo: The Two Popes