Italian Media (alphabetical listing here)
IT 1: THE MEDIEVAL MIND: THE CIRCLES OF LIGHT: THE DIVINE COMEDY. The most celebrated work of Dante Alighieri is certainly The Divine Comedy, a vision of hell, purgatory and heaven that provides a strangely surrealistic view of medieval attitudes on religious dogma and the price of disobedience. 1998. Color. 49 min. English. DVD.
IT 2a: DANTE'S INFERNO. This ambitious program brings to life the first eight cantos of Dante's Inferno. 1993. Color. (8 segments; 11 min. each.) 1 hr. 28 min. total. English. Copy 1 — VHS.
IT 2b: DANTE'S INFERNO. Copy 2 — VHS.
IT 3: THE RENAISSANCE. This video program provides a multifaceted introduction to the period from the late 14th century to the end of the 16th – when writers, artists, philosophers, scientists and explorers believed, and in some ways proved, that they could change the world. The program is divided into three segments: Europe before the Renaissance; the Renaissance in Italy; and the Renaissance elsewhere in Europe. (Includes notes and teaching guide.) 1988. Color. 30 min. English. VHS.
IT 4: APPLAUSE Learning Resources. Studying Italian via video segments. (Two VHS tapes.)
I. "No Mamma, No" and "La Grande Occasione"
II. "Colpo Ditesta" and "La Cura"
IT 5: MICHELANGELO. (An A & E Biography.) He is one of the greatest artists of all time, a man whose name has become synonymous with the word "masterpiece." Color. 50 min. English. VHS.
IT 6: BOCCACCIO: TALES FROM DECAMERON. This marvelous new video demonstrates what fun late medieval/early Renaissance literature can be. Here are six of Boccaccio's tales executed with style and wit, using live action animation of shadow puppets. 1991. Color. 1 hr. 11 min. English. VHS.
IT 7: ANCIENT ROME. From Romulus and Remus to the rise of Christianity, Ancient Rome introduces the people and chronicles the events that shaped one of history's most fascinating civilizations. Leading scholars probe the lives and legends of figures like Nero, Caesar and Ptolemy. Ancient accounts reveal what life was like in their world. And extensive footage reveals the treasures and secrets of sites throughout Europe and the Near East, including Pompeii. The story of an Empire that ruled the world. 1998. Color. 50 min. each. English. (Four VHS tapes.)
I. The Republic of Rome.
II. The Age of the Emperors.
III. Building an Empire.
IV. The Enduring Legacy.
IT 8: ROMAN WAR MACHINE. Actor Joe Campanella narrates this fascinating, authoritative look at the Roman Legions, their battles, commanders, tactics and legacy. From its establishment in 300 BC to the crushing defeat at the hands of the German chief Akininis in 9 AD, The Roman War Machine examines every aspect of this legendary fighting force. See how Caesar used his soldiers for political gain as well as in the field of battle, follow Hadrian's troops as they build instead of destroy, and learn what life was like for the common soldier with the help of ancient documents and historical re-enactments. Color. 50 min. each. English. (Four VHS tapes.)
I. First Our Neighbors, Then the World.
II. Roman Versus Roman.
III. Roman Seige Warfare.
IV. Barbarians at the Gate.
IT 9: THE DARK AGES AND THE MILLENNIUM: CHRISTIANITY IN THE 9th & 10th CENTURIES. This program probes the nature of Christian prayer, questioning Eastern reliance on icons rather than the word as in the West, and chronicles the chaos in Europe that broke out with the death of Charlemagne and the approach to the millennium. 1999. Color. 47 min. English. VHS.
IT 10: THE EUROPEANS: THE RENAISSANCE, REFORMATION, AND BEYOND: TOWARDS A MODERN EUROPE. The Italian Renaissance's contributions to revolutions in architecture, art, religion, commerce, politics and navigation are discussed in this program. 2004. Color. 25 min. English. DVD.
IT 11: THE MEDIEVAL MIND: FREDERICK II: THE LAST EMPEROR. Frederick II ruled an empire from Denmark to Sicily, and as far east as Israel. He is admired to this day by military specialists who consider him one of the greatest conquerors of all time. This program traces his life and times, and his attempts to consolidate imperial power in Italy at the expense of the papacy in the 13th century. 2004. Color. 50 min. English. DVD.
IT 12: JOHNNY STECCHINO. Academy-award winner Roberto Benigni stars as Dante, a kind-hearted but naïve buffoon who is happy driving a school bus for a group of mentally handicapped children – but somehow he feels he is missing out on life and love. His fortunes take a dramatic turn when he meets Maria, a dangerous driver who seems immediately enamored with him. 1991. Color. 1 hr. 42 min. Italian with English subtitles. DVD.
IT 13: THE MONSTER [IL MOSTRO]. A vicious serial sex killer is on the loose, and landscape gardener and shop-window outfitter Loris is the prime suspect, thanks to his unfortunate habit of getting caught in compromising situations (for which there is always a totally innocent explanation that the police fail to spot). Undercover policewoman Jessica is assigned by eccentric police psychologist Taccone to follow Loris and provide evidence for his arrest – but things don't quite go according to plan... 1994. Color. 1 hr. 52 min. Original Italian audio or English. Englsih, French or Spanish subtitles. DVD.
IT 14: IL POSTO. Criterion Collection Production. When young Domenico (Sandro Panseri) ventures from the small village of Meda to Milan in search of employment, he finds himself on the bottom rung of the bureaucratic ladder in a huge, faceless company. The prospects are daunting, but Domenico finds reason for hope in the fetching Antonietta (Loredana Detto). A tender coming-of-age story and a sharp observation of dehumanizing corporate enterprise, Ermanno Olmi’s Il posto is a touching and hilarious tale of one young man’s stumbling entrance into the perils of modern adulthood. 1961. B&W. 1 hr. 33 min. Monaural. Italian with optional English subtitles. Special features: rare deleted scene; Reflecting Reality, a new interview with filmmaker Ermanno Olmi and film critic/historian (and occasional Olmi collaborator) Tullio Kezich; La cotta (The Crush), Olmi’s 1967 short about a young boy’s first love; theatrical trailer; restoration demonstration; new and improved English subtitle translation; plus a new essay by critic Kent Jones. DVD.
IT 15: CIAO, PROFESSORE! This is the story of an upper-class teacher from conservative Northern Italy who, due to a computer error, finds himself teaching third-grade truants at a ramshackle school to the south. Yet along the way, the earnest "professore" learns some valuable lessons when he begins to see life through the fresh, vibrant eyes of his scrappy young students. Color. 1 hr. 31 min. Italian/Italian with English subtitles. DVD.
IT 16: IL PICCOLO DIAVOLO. An Italian Vatican priest is called in by church officials to exorcise a demon from a fat woman. Once the demon is expelled, Matthau hears a racket only to find Benigni in his closet who proclaims himself to be, "the disgusting thing you exorcised from the fat woman." His first time out of Hell, Benigni's devil is naive, curiously tests the world and discovers the mundane little joys of living that we all take for granted; he acquires a taste for cigarettes and wine, dances in public with an inflatable sex doll, falls in love, and much more. Much of all this is observed with arm's-length curiosity by Matthau who brought this fool of a devil into the world. Color. 1 hr. 41 min. Italian. VHS.
IT 17: CYRANO DE BERGERAC. Color. 2 hr. 20 min. Italian. VHS.
IT 18: CENACOLO DI LEONARDO, 1494-1999. Color. 30 min. Italian. VHS.
IT 19: NUOVO CINEMA PARADISO. A famous film director returns home to a Sicilian village for the first time after almost 30 years. He reminisces about his childhood at the Cinema Paradiso where Alfredo, the projectionist, first brought about his love of films. He is also reminded of his lost teenage love, Elena, who he had to leave before he left for Rome. 1989. Color. 1 hr. 32 min. Italian. DVD.
IT 20: IL PORTABORSE [THE FOOTMAN]. A dry satire on corruption and compromise in contemporary Italian politics. A schoolteacher obsessed with poetry and experienced in ghost-writing is hired by an ambitious young minister to write his speeches and tend to the credibility of his image. 1991. Color. 1 hr. 32 min. Italian. VHS.
IT 21: LADRI DI BICICLETTE [THE BICYCLE THIEF]. Antonio Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani) has been waiting for a job, but when one finally arrives, he must obtain a bicycle in order to be able to accept the position. His loving and caring wife, Maria (Lianella Carell), hocks the bed sheets in order to be able to afford a bicycle for Antonio. He reports to work as a poster hanger, but while on the job for only a short time, the bike is stolen by a young thief (Vittorio Antonucci). Desperate to get the vehicle back, Antonio seeks the aid of his friend, Baiocco (Gino Saltamerenda), and also receives the help of his devoted son, Bruno (Enzo Staiola). Bruno stays by Antonio's side, no matter what, determined to help his father get back the stolen property. It is a frustrating journey for the father and son, as they receive no help, except that of Baiocco. It seems that no matter what they do, Antonio is left with a fateful decision (one of the most brutally honest scenes ever filmed). He must ask himself just how far would he go to put food on the table for his family that he loves so much. 1948. B&W. 1 hr. 26 min. Original Italian dialogue with English subtitles; dubbed English soundtrack; theatrical trailer in English. DVD.
IT 22 : FLORENCE: BIRTHPLACE OF THE RENAISSANCE. The art and history of Florence are explained as they are related to one another in this comprehensive examination of the city that conquered the Medieval world with ideas and beauty. 1992. Color. 34 min. English. VHS.
IT 23: FLORENCE: THE POWER OF THE PAST WITH BILL MOYERS. In this PBS program, journalist Bill Moyers introduces viewers to Florence, Italy. Special attention is paid to the city's museum collections, architectural structures, and Renaissance culture as Moyers talks with art historians, including author Umberto Eco, and filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli. Time is also spent admiring Michelangelo's stunning artwork and various frescoes on display. Each participant addresses how the early creative atmosphere in Florence still shapes many of the newest cultural trends that spread throughout the world. The great art of the Florentine Renaissance grew out of the economic ferment of the rising merchant class who became the financial backbone for a cultural and artistic revolution. 1996. Color. 1 hr. 30 min. English. VHS.
IT 24: IN SEARCH OF TUSCANY. Food critic and author John Guerrasio guides viewers on an excursion through the heartland of Tuscany, exploring the cuisine, wine, crafts and heritage of Northern Italy. 1999. Color. 40 min. English. VHS.
IT 25: THE LIFE OF LEONARDO DA VINCI. (Three VHS tapes.)
I. Part 1 of The Life of Leonardo Da Vinci.
II. Parts 2 and 3 of The Life of Leonardo Da Vinci.
III. Parts 4 and 5 of The Life of Leonardo Da Vinci.
IT 26: TOURING ITALY. A land of great cultural and historical significance, Italy possesses many of the world's priceless paintings, sculptures and treasures of antiquity. Color. 1 hr. English. VHS.
IT 27: LEONARDO DA VINCI. (An A & E Biography.) He was widely regarded as the greatest artist who ever lived. Yet this remarkable genius was equally skilled as an architect, engineer and scientist. 1997. Color. 50 min. English. VHS.
IT 28: THE PRINCE. This program explores the moral ambiguities of power through Machiavelli's treatise on political philosophy. 2001. Color. 52 min. English. VHS.
IT 29: IL POSTINO. A young postman's world is brightened as he begins delivering letters to poet Pablo Neruda, exiled on an island off the coast of Italy. At first hoping friendship with the poet will improve his reputation with a local barmaid, he ultimately develops a genuine, touching relationship with the laureate. 1995. Color. 1 hr. 48 min. Italian/French with optional English subtitles. Special features: Audio commentary by director Michael Radford, TV special, soundtrack featurette, TV commercials and trailer. DVD.
IT 30: UMBERTO D. The story centers on a retired civil servant, living only on his pension, whose best friend is his dog. Unable to survive on his meager income, he sacrifices a part of his pension for his dog, and is evicted by his landlady for non-payment of rent. 1952. B&W. 1 hr. 29 min. Italian/Italian with English subtitles. Special features: 55-minute documentary: "That's Life: Vittorio De Sica," video interview with actress Maria Pia Casilio, essay by critic Stuart Klawahs, writings on Umberto by Umberto Eco, Luisa Alessandri, and Carlo Battisti. DVD.
IT 31: INFERNO. Through his Inferno, Dante fleshed out the spatial and moral geography of Hell for the first time ever, bringing it to life in a way that both terrifies and edifies. This program tracks Dante’s allegorical journey through the underworld while providing background on the visionary poet, life in the Middle Ages, and Inferno’s influence on the arts and pop culture. Interviews with Inferno translator Robert Pinsky, Dante scholars Ronald Herzman and William Cook, the Reverend Stephen Happel, of The Catholic University of America, and others are featured, as are readings by three-time Poet Laureate Pinsky and dramatizations of scenes from Inferno and Dante’s life. 2001. Color. 51 min. English. VHS.
IT 32: THE DIVINE COMEDY: VISIONS OF VIOLENCE AND BEAUTY. Two of Italy’s greatest artists are eternally linked, one genius having paid homage to another. Two hundred years after Dante Alighieri wrote The Divine Comedy, Sandro Botticelli illustrated the classic with a series of exquisite drawings crafted at the height of his career. In this program, translator Mark Musa, art historians, clergy, and other experts guide viewers through Botticelli’s exquisite portrayal of Dante’s Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, images that have had a lasting impact on the collective imagination of Western civilization. This program surveys Dante’s epic and the 92 surviving illustrations to provide an unparalleled tour of two masterpieces of literature and art. 2002. Color. 1 hr. English. VHS.
IT 33: THE WANDERING TRIBES OF EUROPE: FROM THE MISTS OF THE NORTH, THE GERMANIC TRIBES. In the 2nd century BC, the Cimbri and Teuton tribes began to move southward from their Scandinavian homeland, Jutland. Soundly defeating the Roman army at Noricum in 113 BC, they set in motion an era of migration that spelled the beginning of the end of Roman military and political supremacy. This program examines the reasons why these Germanic peoples left their homeland, explores their traditions and beliefs and illustrates the clashes of arms and of culture that marked the first contacts between Roman and barbarus. 2004. Color. 52 min. English. DVD.
IT 34: THE WANDERING TRIBES OF EUROPE: THE END OF ROME, THE BIRTH OF EUROPE. By the 6th century, the migrating peoples of Europe had begun to settle down, establishing the boundaries of their domains – but not of their ambitions. Who would become the heirs of the Roman Empire and the allies – and enemies – of the church? This program reconstructs the development of key non-Roman kingdoms including those of the Ostrogoths in Italy, the Merovingians in Gual and the Anglo-Saxons in Britain. 2004. Color. 52 min. English. DVD.
IT 35: THE WANDERING TRIBES OF EUROPE: FUROR TEUTONICUS, PAX ROMANA. At the time the Roman Empire supplanted the failed Republic, the Rhine River marked Rome's northern frontier in western Europe – until Emperor Augustus tried to push the boundary east to the Elbe. Focusing on the events during the 1st through 4th centuries, this program traces the movements of the Goths and the tribes of Germania, including the epic battle in the year 9 when Arminius, leader of the Germanic resistance to Roman colonization, destroyed three Roman legions under Publius Varus – and the emperor's plans for conquest. 2004. Color. 53 min. English. DVD.
IT 36: LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL [La vita è bella]. In 1930s Italy, a carefree Jewish book keeper named Guido starts a fairy tale life by courting and marrying a lovely woman from a nearby city. Guido and his wife have a son and live happily together until the occupation of Italy by German forces. In an attempt to hold his family together and help his son survive the horrors of a Jewish Concentration Camp, Guido imagines that the Holocaust is a game and that the grand prize for winning is a tank. 1997. Italian or English and optional English subtitles. Color. 1 hr. 56 min. Special features: Making Life is Beautiful; Theatrical Trailer. DVD.
IT 37: REMEMBER ME [Ricordati di Me]. In a dysfunctional Italian middle-class family, middle-aged executive Carlo is bored with his work and his monotonous life with wife Giulia. Giulia is frustrated because she gave up of being an actress in her youth to dedicate herself to the family. Their needy son Paolo feels lost and rejected, trying to find himself. Their seventeen-year-old daughter Valentina decides to work in a television show, desperately seeking an audition. When Carlo meets his former sweetheart Alessia in a class reunion, they confess to each other that their marriages are in crisis and both feel passion again. Meanwhile Giulia is invited to an audition in a stage production and to participate in a play. Paolo tries to make friends experimenting with drugs at his birthday party, while Valentina has sex with different guys trying to seek fame as a dancer. Their relationships change when Carlo has an accident. 2003. Color. 2 hr. Italian with English subtitles. Special features: Making of Remember Me; 4 deleted scenes; interviews; cast auditions. DVD.
IT 38: BIG NIGHT. Primo and Secondo are brothers who have emigrated from Italy to open an Italian restaurant in America. Primo is the irascible and gifted chef, brilliant in his culinary genius, but determined not to squander his talent on making the routine dishes that customers expect. Secondo is the smooth front-man, trying to keep the restaurant financially afloat, despite few patrons other than a poor artist who pays with his paintings. The owner of the nearby Pascal's restaurant, enormously successful (despite its mediocre fare), offers a solution – he will call his friend, a big-time jazz musician, to play a special benefit at their restaurant. Primo begins to prepare his masterpiece, a feast of a lifetime, for the brothers' big night... 1996. Color. 1 hr. 49 min. English and Italian. Subtitles in English and Spanish. DVD.
IT 39: AMARCORD. A Criterion Collection Production. In this carnivalesque portrait of provincial Italy during the Fascist period, Federico Fellini’s most personal film satirizes his youth and turns daily life into a circus of social rituals, adolescent desires, male fantasies, and political subterfuge, all set to Nina Rota’s classic, nostalgia-tinged score. The Academy Award–winning Amarcord remains one of cinema’s enduring treasures. 1974. Color. DVD.
I. Feature film. 2 hr. 3 min. Available audio commentary by film scholars Peter Brunette and Frank Burke; American release trailer; deleted scene. Italian. Optional English-dubbed soundtrack. New and improved English subtitle translation.
II. Special features: New 45-minute documentary, Fellini’s Homecoming, on the complicated relationship between the celebrated director, his hometown, and his past; video interview with star Magali Noël; Fellini’s drawings of characters in the film; “Felliniana,” a presentation of ephemera devoted to Amarcord from the collection of Don Young; audio interviews with Fellini, his friends, and family by Gideon Bachmann; new restoration demonstration; plus a book featuring a new essay by scholar Sam Rohdie, author of Fellini Lexicon, and the full text of Fellini’s 1967 essay, “My Rimini" (available by special request).
IT 40: THE BEST OF YOUTH. This film has wowed critics and earned honors at numerous film festivals worldwide. As Italy explodes in an era of social unrest, a single ill-fated incident sends the lives of equally idealistic brothers Nicola and Matteo Carati careening in opposite directions. The next 40 years will find the brothers divergent paths intersecting through some of the most tumultuous events in recent history. 2003. Color. Italian and French with English and Spanish Subtitles. DVD.
I. Disc 1. This disc contains Scenes 1 – 19. 3 hr. 3 min.
II. Disc 2. This disc contains Scenes 20 – 42. 3 hr. 3 min.
IT 41: MALÈNA. The latest triumph from Giuseppe Tornatore, the writer and director of the Academy Award-winning CINEMA PARADISO, Malèna is an utterly unforgettable story of a boy's journey into manhood amid the chaos and intolerance of World War II. In a sleepy Italian village, the most beautiful woman in town, Malèna (Monica Bellucci), becomes the subject of increasingly malicious gossip among the lustful townsmen and their jealous wives. But only her most ardent admirer, young Renato Amoroso (Giuseppe Sulfaro), will learn the untold true story of the mysterious and elusive Malèna. In a captivating motion picture nominated for two Academy Awards, the eventual struggles and hardships that Malèna must bravely endure serve to inspire Renato to new heights of compassion, courage and independence. 2000. Color. 1 hr. 32 min. Italian and French with English and Spanish Subtitles. DVD.