Learning Italian with Cinema- I

The past few months have been very great for me in terms of imbibing the Italian language and culture. I saw a lot of Italian movies during this time hence thought of compiling a post of the ones I really enjoyed. Though I am still shy and under confident to speak Italian, I immersed myself completely to listen and read more. Listening to a new language helps A LOT and one can pick up small words and habits unconsciously. Here are 5 movies with great storylines that I think anyone can watch (thanks to English subtitles) 

Learning Italian with Cinema

Perfetti Sconosciuti (2016): This is a story of 7 friends and how their lives fall apart after they agree to play a game by making their texts, WhatsApp and Phone calls public. What is great about this movie is the symbolism because it is set on a night of an eclipse so it shows two sides of a person as well as that of the moon. The movie is a perfect take on modern technology and how it has hampers our personal lives and those around us. It revolves around normal couples and shows deception, dishonesty and cheating. perfectstrangers-poster-ws_ Mine Vaganti (2010): I love when movies highlight day to day issues. Mine Vaganti shows the issue of homosexuality in a rich family of Puglia. It is a story about two brothers who are gay but are yet to divulge the same to their families. Shot in Lecce, the film shows many sides of the Italian culture and a family obsessed with pasta!! Even though the film is shown in the category of a Comedy on Wikipedia, I think it is far from that. The sexually frustrated brothers and dramatic overbearing father tells us much more.


mine_vaganti_ver3_xlg Loro Chi? (2015): Did you like Catch Me If You Can?? Oceans Eleven?? Well I bet you will love this one then. I won’t divulge much except that the comic timings and script of this movie which is far from perfect. It is impossible NOT to have fun in this movie. I recommended it to several of my friends from my Italian class and they loved it too. Being a fan of both the actors in the movie and having seen plenty of their work, I can safely tell you to watch as it is one of the best!


Mia Madre (2015): My Italian teacher recommended Nani Moretti’s movies last year and there has been no stopping me since. Not only is the language slower and simplified, the scripts of his movies are unique and touching. For instance, Mia Madre tells the relationship of a mother and daughter. There are plot lines  and memories from the past as well as present that the protagonist handles beautifully. It leaves you teary eyed.
maxresdefault Io Sono l’amore (2010): This is a slow film set in the chic urban space of Milan and revolves around a wealthy family. The mother, a typical “doting on the son” type, falls in love with the son’s friend. The story unravels slowly and with a lot of passion. This movie shows the other side of an industrial Italian family and the ending is very unpredictable.


Did you like the list?? I’d love recommendations from you but anything except the usual La Grande Belezza, Il Postino, La Vita è Bella, Pane e Tulipani, Cinema Paradiso or Mediterraneo will do 😉

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51 thoughts on “Learning Italian with Cinema- I

  1. I would highly recommend La Meglio Gioventù (The Best of Youth), but prepare yourself for a 6 hours-long movie 😅 You can easily find English subtitles and I think it’s also great for learning something about Italian contemporary history, as it covers an extensive part of it through the story of one family (in this aspect, it’s like The Leopard, just to give an example). The actors are amazing and the movie is really touching. Probably for a non-Italian speaker is different, but at the end, after 6 hours of film, I was almost like “Finished already?” LOL. It’s really flowing.

      1. Yeah, I can understand that! But obviously you can watch it “in episodes”, if you want. I said that because I’ve read a lot of entusiastic reviews of non-Italians, who watched it even if they didn’t understand a word of the language 😊 But I can totally understand what you mean 👍

          1. Current as in movies that are now in the theaters? Sorry, I’m not really watching new movies in this period…but I definitely support what Manja suggested in the comment below! Great picks!

  2. Thank you, girl, I like it when you’re doing recommendations. Your joy comes across.
    I’ve seen the first film of your five (great) and the last one (not so great, too masochistic for my taste). I also didn’t enjoy “Grande Bellezza” because in my opinion it lacked a storyline.
    We watch mostly lightweight comedies around here when amore is choosing, for example Benigni’s “Johnny Stecchino”, and also “Habemus Papam”, “Benvenuti al Sud” or “Quo vado”. One day we watched “Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot”, that was different! We also watch old movies, “Il marchese del Grillo”, “Amici miei”, or Sophia Loren in “Matrimonio all’italiana”. And if you feel adventurous, watch “Travolti da un insolito destino nell’azzurro mare d’agosto” or “Primo amore” by Matteo Garrone. Italians are lots of things. 🙂
    And I’ll watch the other three films first chance I get, as well as that 6-hour one Sara recommended.

    1. I agree with you, Manja, on La Grande Bellezza…sadly Sorrentino “doesn’t believe in storylines” (quotation) and this is something I’ll never understand 😅 I think a movie should tell a story, if you lack one, it’s just random, beautiful images put one after the other…at least I think so. Sorrentino’s Il Divo was his best work in my opinion, though. He has little compassion for his characters as a general rule and if in other movies it bothers me, in this one it was almost required. This film has one of the best openings in my opinion plus great photography and great choice of music (both are his main values).
      As for the classics/old movies you mentioned: great suggestions! ❤ Garrone is a great director, but I have yet to find the guts to watch Gomorrah, I have to be honest. Painful topic :/
      As for the 6-hour movie: for me it’s one of the best representations of “the Italian family” inserted in a greater Italian context. Truly recommended ❤

      1. Great. All I need is find it. Amore says: “Just for revenge: we recommend the 6-hour Pinocchio by Comencini!” 😉 As for La Grande Bellezza, everybody was so full of praise that I expected something a bit different. Ok, Il Divo will be. And I saw Gomorrah on Slovenian TV before I left. Yes, heavy.

        1. Well, thank you Manja’s Amore 😂👍 But, just for the record, I don’t expect people to see it for 6 hours straight! Breaking it in episodes will do!

    2. I always look forward to your comments 🙂 thank you! its nice to see people appreciate the effort you go through for a post that too of a different culture. I have seen quo vado too. I really liked Habemus Papam 🙂 Benvenuti al sud was so true in many ways I heard and saw in Italy. funny too. I will check the others you mentioned.

  3. Nice list, gives me some to put on my “to-watch list” I’ve only seen one of them. I’d recommend “L’ultimo Bacio” (The Last Kiss) At least a decade old, but I loved it.

  4. I checked Mia Madre out of the library just yesterday and have it sitting next to the TV – can’t wait to see it. I really like Magherita Buy. I recently saw her in A Five-Star Life which tells the story of a woman whose job it is to stay in and rate 5-star hotels all over the world. Yes, can you believe it? Could it really be a job? Anyway, she was excellent, as usual.

        1. Nice movie no? Ya I like his movies too though I have seen just two but enough to make me a fan. Have you seen Son’s Room? Another great movie by Moretti

  5. I loathed Mia Madre. I have seen other Moretti films but this one really annoyed me. Mio Marito thought the same thing.
    I watch lots of Italian movies online, through our local SBS TV station. The one I loved most last year was Il Grande Sogno ( the Big Dream- 2009) with Riccardo Scamarcio. In fact, I love any movie with Riccardo Scamarcio- any at all!! Here’s a list of movies starring Scamarcio. I use this list to find them at the library

  6. Il Postino, La Vita è Bella, Cinema Paradiso and Mediterraneo are a must watch for all lovers of Italian cinema! These are classics that will live on forever! Great post Ishita! Hope you are back in il bel paese soon 🙂 Ciao from a sunny Rome

  7. These are terrific recommendations and a preferred way in which I try to expand my skills. I also watch RAI series whenever possible, every little bit seems to help me expand my listening and speaking skills. Thank you so much!

  8. I missed the Italian Film Festival this year, and it looks like I have a lot of good movies to catch up on! Apart from the classics already mentioned, I would recommend Ciao Professore and Respiro. Ciao, Cristina

  9. Really nice post. I really need to start watching Italian films rather than just English films dubbed over. Nice when I know them but I think it is missing the Italian culture aspect you get from an Italian film. Think I will be checking these out 😀👍🏻

  10. Thank you for the recommendations. I learning Italian now. I finally just started speaking it regardless of how incorrect it was because I figured it was a fear I had to get over. It helped my confidence a lot but it is hard to get better when I don’t hear it every day. Your recommendations will help!

    1. I am happy to help, Sheri. Did you also check the other posts on Cinema? It is hard for me to just speak it too but I think its the only way to go about it 😉 In bocca al lupo!

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