The Hand of God

Italian cinema continues to captivate audiences worldwide with its unique storytelling, emotional depth, and artistic innovation. Over the past five years, Italian filmmakers have produced a remarkable array of films that have garnered international acclaim. Here, we explore fifteen of the most significant Italian movies released from 2021 to 2024.

  1. Three Floors (Tre piani) (2021) Directed by Nanni Moretti, this drama explores the intertwined lives of three families living in a Roman apartment building. Each family faces its own crisis: a hit-and-run accident, a young girl growing up under the shadow of her strict father, and a couple grappling with infidelity. The film delves into themes of guilt, responsibility, and the complexities of modern life.
  2. The Hand of God (È stata la mano di Dio) (2021) Directed by Paolo Sorrentino, this semi-autobiographical film recounts a young man’s coming of age in 1980s Naples. Fabietto Schisa’s life is upended by a family tragedy, all against the backdrop of Diego Maradona’s arrival in Naples. The film navigates loss, love, and a burgeoning passion for cinema.
  3. The Catholic School (La scuola cattolica) (2021) Directed by Stefano Mordini, this film is based on Edoardo Albinati’s novel and the real-life Circeo Massacre. It delves into the lives of students at a prestigious Catholic school in Rome during the 1970s, revealing a culture of privilege and brutality that culminates in a horrific crime.
  4. Freaks Out (2021) Directed by Gabriele Mainetti, this fantasy drama follows four circus performers with extraordinary abilities trying to escape Nazi-occupied Rome during World War II. As they struggle for freedom, they must confront both their own inner demons and external threats.
  5. America Latina (2021) Directed by Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo, this psychological thriller centers on Massimo Sisti, a dentist whose seemingly perfect life unravels after discovering a shocking secret in his basement. The film explores themes of trust, identity, and the dark undercurrents of suburban life.
  6. A Chiara (2021) Directed by Jonas Carpignano, this drama follows 15-year-old Chiara, whose father suddenly disappears, prompting her to uncover her family’s deep ties to the Calabrian Mafia. The film is a gripping portrayal of a young girl’s quest for truth and her struggle against the forces shaping her destiny.
  7. The Inner Cage (Ariaferma) (2021) Directed by Leonardo Di Costanzo, this film is set in an old, crumbling prison slated for closure. As the last remaining inmates and guards wait for their transfer, they form unexpected bonds and confront their pasts in a tense atmosphere of uncertainty.
  8. Marx Can Wait (Marx può aspettare) (2021) Directed by Marco Bellocchio, this personal documentary explores the life and suicide of Bellocchio’s twin brother, Camillo. Through family interviews and archival footage, the film examines themes of grief, guilt, and the impact of societal expectations.
  9. Nostalgia (2022) Directed by Mario Martone, this drama follows Felice, who returns to his hometown of Naples after 40 years abroad. As he reconnects with his past, he faces unresolved conflicts and a city that has drastically changed, both in appearance and spirit.
  10. Dry (Siccità) (2022) Directed by Paolo Virzì, this dystopian film imagines a future Rome suffering from an extreme drought that exacerbates societal tensions. The narrative interweaves multiple characters’ lives, revealing how scarcity and environmental crises impact their relationships and moral choices.
  11. The Eight Mountains (Le otto montagne) (2022) Directed by Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch, this film adapts Paolo Cognetti’s novel about the lifelong friendship between Pietro, a boy from the city, and Bruno, a boy from the mountains. Their bond endures over decades, highlighting the contrasts between urban and rural life.
  12. Lord of the Ants (Il signore delle formiche) (2022) Directed by Gianni Amelio, this biographical drama tells the story of Aldo Braibanti, an Italian poet and playwright who was convicted of “plagiarism of the mind” in 1968. The film explores themes of love, freedom, and the oppressive societal norms of the time.
  13. Our Father (Padre nostro) (2022) Directed by Claudio Noce, this film follows Valerio, a young boy who witnesses an assassination attempt on his father, a judge. The traumatic event and the friendship with another boy, Christian, lead Valerio to confront the violent realities of his world.
  14. Caravaggio’s Shadow (L’ombra di Caravaggio) (2023) Directed by Michele Placido, this historical drama explores the turbulent life of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, focusing on his artistic genius and the controversies that plagued him. The film delves into his relationships, his run-ins with the law, and the shadowy figures surrounding him.
  15. Strangeness (La stranezza) (2024) Directed by Roberto Andò, this film offers a comedic exploration of the world of theater and the life of Nobel laureate Luigi Pirandello. Set in 1920s Sicily, it captures Pirandello’s creative struggles and the eccentric characters that inspire his groundbreaking work.
  16. L’immensità (2022) Directed by Emanuele Crialese, this poignant drama is set in 1970s Rome and focuses on Clara, a mother navigating the complexities of family life while her daughter grapples with gender identity. Penélope Cruz stars as Clara, offering a heartfelt performance in this exploration of acceptance and love.
  17. The King of Laughter (Qui rido io) (2021) Directed by Mario Martone, this historical biopic chronicles the life of Eduardo Scarpetta, a famous Neapolitan playwright and actor. The film explores his career, his legal battles, and his complex relationships with his family and the theatrical community.
  18. A Brighter Tomorrow (Il sol dell’avvenire) (2023) Directed by Nanni Moretti, this bittersweet comedy-drama follows a film director who is struggling with the production of his latest movie while dealing with personal and professional crises. The film reflects on the creative process and the challenges of balancing art and life.
  19. The Hummingbird (Il colibrì) (2022) Directed by Francesca Archibugi, this film adapts Sandro Veronesi’s novel about Marco Carrera, whose life is marked by significant losses and loves. The film’s non-linear narrative captures the essence of human resilience and the passage of time.
  20. The Shadow of the Day (L’ombra del giorno) (2022) Directed by Giuseppe Piccioni, this romantic drama is set during the rise of Fascism in Italy. It follows the story of Luciano, a restaurant owner, and Anna, a young woman with a secret, as they navigate love and moral dilemmas in a politically charged era.

These films highlight the richness and diversity of contemporary Italian cinema, showcasing a variety of genres and themes that offer deep insights into Italian culture and society.

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