Cinema of Italy: The new millennium

In the new millennium, new directors start to make their mark in Italian movies. Among them, Nanni Moretti, Marco Tullio Giordana, Gabriele Salvatores, Paolo Sorrentino, and many more.

The Italian movies of the 21st century

In 2001 Nanni Moretti wins the Palm D’or at the Cannes Film festival with “La stanza del figlio” while Ermanno Olmi completes one of his most important works: “Il mestiere delle armi”, a movie that strikes for its poetic and realistic vision and at the same time for its accurate depiction of the era.

Marco Bellocchio, after interrupting his much-discussed cooperation with psychoanalyst Fagioli, produces two acclaimed movies: “L’ora di religione” (2002) and “Buongiorno notte” (2003) dedicated to the kidnapping of Aldo Moro.

Gabriele Salvatores, after some transitional works, re-emerges to international level with “Io non ho paura” (2003), intense and visionary gothic fable about youth, the relationship between kids and adults, fear and its overcoming.

Marco Tullio Giordana wins praise for “I cento passi” (200) and above all with the mini-series “La meglio gioventú” (2003) that retraces the last 40 years of Italian contemporary history through the events of an Italian family.

Another revelation is Emanuele Crialese who grabs attention with “Respiro” (2003) and mostly with “Nuovomondo” (2006), a look at the tragic reality of the Italian emigrants of the 1900s, with a captivating style that blends an accurate hyperrealism and surprising surreal patches.

In the comedy genre a great success is obtained by the comic trio Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo, authors also of movies like “Tre uomini e una gamba” and “Chiedimi se sono felice” (2003). Big blockbusters, especially during the holiday season, are comedies that rely on the fame of TV stars, the so-called “cinepanettoni”, directed by specialists like Neri Parenti and Carlo Varzina.

A better reception by the critics has given to the emerging Gabriele Muccino, a director who is very focused on themes regarding sentimental issues in youths, he is capable of filming with a gentle touch, his major successes are “Come te nessuno mai” (1999) and “L’ultimo bacio” (2001). Later Muccino was called to work in the United States.

With regard to this kind of movies, Quentin Tarantino, during an interview in 2007, said: “The Italian movies that I have seen in the last 3 years look all the same to me, they always talk about: boy who grows up, girl who grows up, a couple in crisis, parents, and vacations for mentally challenged people. What happened? I loved the Italian cinema of the 1960s and 1970s and some movies from the 1980s, but now I feel that everything ended. It’s a real tragedy.” Tarantino’s words had little echo, raising contrasting reactions. In any case, in Italy in recent years there has been a productive stimulus with more economic investments and a new success in theatres of movies of certain genres, in particular noir and thriller.

Some examples are Paolo Sorrentino’s “L’uomo in più” (2003) and “Le conseguenze dell’amore” (2004) and Matteo Garrone’s “L’imbalsamatore (2002). In 2008 two movies, realized by Garrone and Sorrentino gain international acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival: “Gomorra”, from the novel by Roberto Saviano, and “Il Divo”, inspired by the life of Giulio Andreotti, which won respectively the Grand Prix of Jury and Award of the Jury. Although different in style, the two movies share the same desire to tell, using the camera, critical aspects of modern Italian society. The great success of these two movies at the box office is also a sign of a return to the cinema of author capable of reaching the public.

To be mentioned also some interesting young authors, grown as assistants to Nanni Moretti: Andrea Molaioli, who in 2007 debuts with “La ragazza del lago” and Alessandro Angelini with the interesting and award-winning “L’aria salata”. There is also a new generation of actors, among them Claudio Santamaria, Stefano Accorsi, Kim Rossi Stuart, Pierfrancesco Favico, Jasmine Trinca, Elio Germano, Riccardo Scamarcio, all of them featured in “Romanzo criminale” by Michele Placido (2005, based on the homonymous novel by Giancarlo De Cataldo). At this list we can also add Laura Chiatti (“L’amico di famiglia” by Paolo Sorrentino), Maya Sansa (“Buongiorno, notte” by Marco Bellocchio).

Today the cinema of Italy is going through an important rebirth, thanks also to digital cinematography it is possible to make a movie without a large budget while new distribution channels like Home video and Internet offer the opportunity and inspiration to the young film makers, allowing them to emerge from the pure commercial goal of large movie companies. A common method of distribution for independent movies is the DVD, that reaches a large audience despite not been shown in movie theatres. The first examples come from the horror genre with titles like “Ti piace Hitchcock” by Dario Argento, “Il mistero di Lovecraft – Road to L.” by Federico Greco, “H2Odio” by Alex Infascelli and “AD Project” by Eros Puglielli.