Marking the release of The American, we asked a group of American expat bloggers who now live in Italy to pick the films that most represent their new home country.
The Icicle Thief
The Icicle Thief parodies the renowned neorealist Bicycle Thief in its hilarious portrayal of mass media and Italian home life, remote and batteries included. Italy has changed and it’s all about consumerism, adverts, and “zapping” channels. This ingenious movie is a cult film in my 1-woman cult but is absolutely priceless.
My favorite actor-director Nanni Moretti, starts his Dear Diary tooling around a deserted Rome on his Vespa; offering up observations from his 40-something perspective. From Rome to the islands, to his bout with the Italian medical (non-)system, I can attest – it’s all true.
Starring the late great Vittorio Gassman, La Famiglia still gives me goosebumps. The entire film spans generations while never leaving the corridor of the family home. In a country where it’s adventurous to move out of your family’s apartment building and across the street, this portrayal of what we like to think of Italy and the Italians is classic.
While technically not a great film, Gomorrah deserves pride of place for ever having been made. Digging under Italy’s dark underbelly of crime & corruption, it brought upfront all of the conditions which leave Italy’s south poor and its north rich. Looking like Pakistan’s lawless areas, Italy needs to face up to this serious problem in what is an otherwise modern country.
And finally, that nostalgic film, Cinema Paradiso still brings joy to my heart. While it’s not Italy today, it’s where we all came from. A generation of Italians (and Italian-Americans, et al) have looked back to see how much life has changed. My mother remembers it like it was, and, whenever I go to the cinema and they break for intermission, it always comes to mind.