Italian Cinema

The history of Italian cinema began with a few seconds footage of Pope Leo XIII blessing the camera. Historical dramas were most popular in these early years before sound. During and after WWI, funds were short and nothing much of interest was made until the 1920s. With the rise of fascism the film industry was encouraged and in 1937 Cinecitta was built on the outskirts of Rome. Literally a 'cinema city', it contained everything a film maker could need or want, including theatres, and even a cinematography school. The slogan on posters at the time read "Cinema is The Most Powerful Weapon". Newsreels and propagandistic documentaries were filmed here but by 1939, feature film productions were underway. Visconti ('Ossessione'), Rossellini (Rome, Open City') and De Sica ('Bicycle Thief') all began their careers here. Post-war, two distinct trends emerged in Italian cinema: on the one hand, the neo-realist films of Rossellini and De Sica, made chiefly on location in the streets of Rome and surrounding towns; and on the other, the American megaproductions, filmed almost entirely on sets constructed in the Cinecitta studios. In 1948, 'Quo Vadis?', 'Roman Holiday (1952), 'Three Coins in a Fountain' (1954), 'Farewell to Arms' (1957), 'Ben Hur' (1958) and 'Cleopatra' (1961), to cite only the most famous. Federico Fellini shot most of his films, at least in part at Cinecitta and to this day the studios are used for television and film productions. Mention must also be made of Pasolini, Bertolucci, Zeffirelli, Antonioni, Sergio Leone - Italy has given cinema some of its greatest individuals and auteurs. Pictured: The lost kisses from 'Cinema Paradiso'

1900 (1976)

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Starring: Alida Valli, Burt Lancaster, Dominique Sanda, Donald Sutherland, Gerard Depardie...

Aka "Novecento". This sweeping chronicle of 20th century Italy focuses on the sons of two contrasting families; the landowner's son (Robert De Niro) a... Read more

8 1/2 (1963)

Director: Federico Fellini
Starring: Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimee

Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido Anselmi, a director whose new project is collapsing around him, along with his life. One of the greatest films about... Read more

8 1/2 ( Blu-ray ) (1963)

Director: Federico Fellini
Starring: Anouk Aimee, Claudia Cardinale, Marcello Mastroianni, Sandra Milo

Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido Anselmi, a director whose new project is collapsing around him, along with his life. One of the greatest films about... Read more

A Few Days in September (2006)

Director: Santiago Amigorena
Starring: Juliette Binoche, John Turturro, Sara Forestier, Tom Riley, Nick Nolte

An international tale of intrigue with more than a hint of satire has Juliette Binoche as a French agent on the trail of a missing CIA operative with... Read more

A Heart Elsewhere (2003)

Director: Pupi Avati
Starring: Neri Marcore, Vanessa Incontrada, Giancarlo Giannini

Aka "Il Cuore Altrove". Nello Balocchi, a 35-year-old teacher of Greek and Latin, shy and reserved by nature, is invited to Bologna by his father Cesa... Read more

A Matter of Heart (2009)

Director: Francesca Archibugi
Starring: Antonio Albanese, Kim Rossi Stuart

"Un Questione de Cuore" Angelo and Alberto strike up a close friendship in hospital after suffering a heart attack. They are both Romans, but they liv... Read more

Agatha and the Storm (2004)

Director: Silvio Soldini
Starring: Licia Maglietta, Giuseppe Battiston, Claudio Santamaria

As proprietor of a bookshop in Genoa, the warm and intelligent Agatha dispenses literary wisdom to her adoring customers. When a younger man heeds her... Read more

Ages of Love ( aka Manual of Love 3 ) (2011)

Director: Giovanni Veronesi
Starring: Monica Bellucci, Robert De Niro, Donatella Finocchiaro, Michele Placido, Carlo V...

Sexy, romantic, adventurous and very funny, "Ages of Love" examines three different couples united in their quest for love. The first installment, tit... Read more

Allegro Non Troppo (1976)

Director: Bruno Bozzetto
Starring: Maurizio Nichetti, Marialuisa Giovannini

Bozzetto's cult feature-length parody of Walt Disney's classic 'Fantasia' is both a send-up and an imaginative and beautiful film in its own right. "A... Read more

Amarcord (1974)

Director: Federico Fellini
Starring: Magali Noel, Bruno Zanin, Pupella Maggio

The title is from the Italian for "I remember" and that is what Director Fellini does in this heartfelt autobiographical drama. The life and times of... Read more