I tend to rate these films higher than I should because I love watching films set in Italy. Even Antonioni couldn’t make that place look ugly. At some point I will do write-ups on all the Italian Directors currently listed on the left hand sidebar.


Thriving on a riff!

Notes on the Italian directors who didn’t make the Masters/Majors cut and whatnot.


Bernardo Bertulucci seems like such a great guy.  I wish I liked his films more.  The Conformist is a haunting exercise in style and Last Tango in Paris is fascinating if only for watching Brando deconstruct.   Sheltering Sky was well made but as a big Paul Bowles fan I expected more.  Bertolucci’s later films have been wildly uneven and his early work never made a big impression.  Is there something I’m missing?

I’ve never been a fan of De Sica‘s brand of neorealism.  His films felt forced and he milked emotions far too much.  A suave, popular movie star in the 1930s it’s hard to envision De Sica as a true champion of the little people.  Indeed, I prefer his haunting tale of the aristocracy Garden of the Finzi-Continis to Bicycle Thieves or Miracle in Milan.

Ah, Fellini.  I’ve always liked his sense of humor, so I still try to watch his films with an open mind.  Like De Sica, he aimed to be oh, so profound during his neo-realist period in the 1950s.  His ’60s films are too pessimistic and indulgent.  My favorite Fellini films are I Vitelloni and Amarcord.  Two small, local stories told with much affection.

I remember being really impressed by Pasolini during my first run through his films, but not so much the second time around.  Still, he was a vivid and sincere filmmaker and I’m willing to give him another shot.  Still, I’ll continue to take a pass on Salo .

My friend Rich tipped me off to Best Offer by Giuseppe Tornatore and it was a revelation in a Vertigo-sort of way.  I wasn’t crazy about Cinema Paradiso when it came out, but where that lovely little film memoir is concerned I was oh so wrong.  Upon further research it’s clear Tornatore’s affection for movies is apparent in every frame he shoots.  Count me in.

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