Four masterpieces of the seventh art that illustrate the breathtaking genius of Italian directors
The Italian artistic heritage is so rich in masterpieces that it would be impossible to choose the best works of art ever produced in the country. In this respect, the seventh art is not different from the other ones. For this reason, the following shortlist does not claim to pinpoint the best movies of the Italian cinema. It only aims to highlight four masterpieces that every lover of anything Italian should watch, at least once.
The Leopard (1963) – One of Luchino Visconti’s great epic period drama was inspired by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s book with which it shares the title. The movie, winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, is centered around the magnetic figure of Burt Lancaster who plays Don Fabrizio Corbera, supported by a great Alain Delon. The film recounts Garibaldi’s landing in Sicily and the end of the aristocracy with a look is both incredibly detached and intense.
La dolce vita (1960) – The most famous work of Federico Fellini, and perhaps of the entire Italian cinema, has often been misinterpreted. Officially defined as comedy-drama, it is much closer to the latter. A tragic story, in which the sparkle of the Roman nightlife in the 1960s is the background to the existential drama of almost all the characters. Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni) is a gossip journalist who feels that he has been let down both by life and himself. He lives a frenetic life in search of distractions and entertainment to strenuously avoid the sense of emptiness that pervades him (in the picture).
Four masterpieces that every lover of anything Italian should watch
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) – The unmistakable score by Ennio Morricone is the fourth protagonist of Sergio Leone’s epic Spaghetti Western. The others are Clint Eastwood as the Good, Lee Van Cleef as the Bad, and Eli Wallach as the Ugly. Leone’s mastery in the use of close-up and long shots, together with the perfect combination of violence, tension, and gunfights, make it an absolute masterpiece.
My Friends (1975) – Mario Monicelli’s comedy-drama is probably the least internationaly renown movie on this list, but it is nonetheless a must-see. The movie is one of the most famous comedies in the history of Italian cinema. Set in Florence, it is about supportive male friendship. A group of friends in their fifties finds self-realization and purpose through a strong sense of camaraderie. Together, on their “gypsy” outings, they perform an endless series of practical jokes that bring a spark to their lives, which, taken individually, are quite unremarkable.
Ilona Catani Scarlett