Your Italian-Inspired Summer Movie List

Thu, 08/23/2018 - 06:35

In the film list below, the summer season is the common background to stories and characters very different from one another, with different results. If you love summer-set movies, take note of this Italian-inspired list.

[Love books? Don’t miss our summer reading list.]

Roman Holiday – William Wyler (1953)

Filmed at the Cinecittà studios and on location around Rome during the "Hollywood on the Tiber" era, Roman Holiday is a 1953 romantic comedy directed by William Wyler, starring Gregory Peck as a reporter and Audrey Hepburn as a royal princess out to see Rome on her own.

Many of Rome’s iconic locations, including the Mouth of Truth, Castel Sant'Angelo, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza di Spagna, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Tiber river and the Via dei Fori Imperiali, are shown in the film as the two protagonists wander around Rome on a Vespa.

Hepburn won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in this movie, which was her debut.

Il Sorpasso  - Dino Risi (1962)

Il Sorpasso (Italian for ‘the overtaking’, English title The Easy Life), is a 1962 comedy co-written and directed by Dino Risi, starring Vittorio Gassman, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Catherine Spaak. It’s considered Risi's masterpiece and one of the most famous examples of the commedia all'italiana film genre.

A ‘Ferragosto road movie’, it is the journey of two people, an unruly 40-year-old and a young university student, who leave a deserted, sun-baked Rome to drive on the Roman road Via Aurelia, reaching the coasts of Lazio and Tuscany, in 1960s Italy, the time of the economic boom.

Un sacco bello – Carlo Verdone (1980)

The directorial debut of one of best Italian comedian actors, Carlo Verdone, who also stars in the film, Un sacco bello (English title Fun is Beautiful) is a 1980 comedy film produced by Sergio Leone.

Carlo Verdone plays three roles in three episodes set on a single day, set in Rome at Ferragosto.

Sapore di mare – Carlo Vanzina (1983)

Directed by Carlo Vanzina, the box office success Sapore di mare (English title Time for Loving) is a comedy that launched the subgenre of revival-nostalgic comedy films, which would become a fixture of Italian cinema in both summer and winter with not always great results.

Set in the 1960s, and 18 years later when the young protagonists are adults), on the Tuscan beach of Forte dei Marmi (filmed on location), it tells the stories of several families coming from different parts of Italy, and especially of their teenage children, while on vacation at the beach. Simplistic but truthful is the portrayal of the vices and virtues of Italians at the time and how they would evolve.

Ferie d’agosto – Paolo Virzì (1995)

Awarded a David di Donatello for Best Film, Ferie d’agosto (August Vacation) is a comedy-drama directed by Paolo Virzì, set on the island of Ventotene, off the coast of Lazio, in the 1990s. It reveals a changing Italian society by portraying the generational confrontation between two very different families, one close to the ideals of the left and the other the expression of the right-leaning bourgeois.

Stealing Beauty – Bernardo Bertolucci (1996)

Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and starring Liv Tyler, Joseph Fiennes, Jeremy Irons and Rachel Weisz, Stealing Beauty (Io ballo da sola in Italian) tells the story of a 19-year-old American woman who travels to Italy to spend the summer at the luxurious Tuscan villa near Siena of family friends shortly after her mother’s death.

Stealing Beauty, which was filmed entirely in Tuscany (the main location was the estate of Castello di Brolio), was released in 1996 and selected for the Cannes Film Festival the same year.

Pane e Tulipani – Silvio Soldini (1999)

Pane e tulipani (English title Bread and Tulips) is a 2000 romance comedy film directed by Silvio Soldini. Set between Pescara and Venice on a summer in the late 1990s, it’s the story of bored housewife Rosalba, forgotten at an autogrill during a group trip, who, instead of returning home, ends up in Venice, where she ponders her values and eventually becomes the woman she had aspired to be.

An enjoyable movie, with its bizarre characters, a lightness that puts it closer to French movies than the classic Italian comedy, and a beautiful, original portrait of Venice.

Call me by your name – Luca Guadagnino (2017)

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983 and shot on location (mainly in Crema and Villa Albergoni), Call me by your name is a coming-of-age romantic drama directed by Luca Guadagnino and written by James Ivory, based on the 2007 novel of the same name by André Aciman.

It chronicles the romantic relationship between 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) and his professor father's 24-year-old graduate-student assistant Oliver (Armie Hammer).

The film received praise for its acting, screenplay, direction, and music, earning four nominations at the 90th Academy Awards, including one for Best Picture.