Look, I get it. Having grown up on a diet of cheesy Italian rom-coms and sitcoms in the glory days of Italia 1, Canale 5 and the like, giving it up for an all-American diet is not easy. Let’s be honest, we all miss those nasal Italian drawls, the sapore di mare love stories and the iconic Italian locations that give us all the feels.
I’m embarrassed to write this, but I only realised about seven days ago that by typing in ‘Italia’ in the search bar I’m taken straight to a super nostalgic collection of movies and even serieses with all the throaty amos and raga and nary an Empire State Building in sight. In those seven days I’ve already binge watched five movies, all in their original language of course (the English dubbing is a real horror).
So this one’s for all my fellow Gen X people who don’t want to cope with all the commercial Italian stations’ advertising breaks but who still want a dash of mitico to their popcorn time.
5. Quattro Metà – This is possibly Italy’s answer to Sliding Doors as it follows the entanglements of four friends/lovers across two different parallel scenarios. The film is based in Rome, so we get the extra fun of seeing the gorgeousness of the Eternal City.
4. Sul Piu Bello – This one’s a bonanza as it’s actually a trilogy that follows the romantic misadventures of Marta (Ludovica Francesconi) as she tries to steer away from the Tinder situationships. The added complication here is that Marta suffers from cystic fibrosis, so we add an extra frisson of will we get a happy ending or will this all end in tears?
3. Generazione 56K – It took me a while to figure out the reason behind the name of this short series. You’ll probably get there way before me, but I won’t ruin it for you. Another film with a killer soundtrack, this one is based mostly on the island of Procida, with some scenes in Naples. The storyline is a simple (but complicated) love story at heart and we follow a couple’s on-and-off relationship over the course of two decades, with Italian-flavoured jokes and awww moments aplenty.
2. Rose Island – A massive hit, and it’s easy to see why. The highly unlikely but highly lovable story of engineer Giorgio Rosa, who constructs an oil platform in international waters right off the coast of Rimini and his attempts to get it declared a Republic is heart-warming, frustrating and (eventually) heartbreaking. The journey towards the poignant end is peppered with gorgeous shots of Rimini beach and of Bologna and a soundtrack that’s pretty mitico. Never before have I wished so desperately for the Italian government to be overthrown.
1.Sotto il Sole di Riccione – this one’s a bonus, as it comes with a sequel that’s just a figo, Sotto il Sole di Amalfi. We start out with the idyllic setting of Riccione – remember when Fiorella used to take his karaoke show to this iconic beach every summer – where we meet a group of teens. It’s summertime, so expect a lot of fit bodies in bikinis, romantic sunsets and inciuci. Super feel good, with all the requisite Italian hits of the year and a particularly sweet angle involving the blind Tommy (Matteo Oscar Giuggioli). The follow up is just as fun, and follows the natural progression of Tommy’s relationship, this time round in Amalfi.
Bonus tip: Don’t bother with La Vita Bugiarda degli’Adulti. Being based on the Elena Ferrante novel I had such high hopes for this one, but it’s a snorefest.