I was asked to make this post a while back, I’m sorry it took so long. A couple of things before we start:
By clicking on each movie’s title, you’ll be redirected to the trailer (with English subtitles when I could find them).
I checked, and all movies featured on this list have their own Wikipediapage if you’re looking for further information.
Hit me up if you want some help in finding places where you can watch these online.
I had to leave out many nice films, and I’ve surely forgotten some: feel free to add more!
I cento passi (2000) – the true story of Sicilian political activist Peppino Impastato, killed by the mafia in 1978 for his overt opposition to the latter. Drama, biopic.
Io non ho paura (2003) – ten-year-old Michele, living in southern Italy in the 1970′s, discovers a hole in the ground where a boy is kept prisoner. Based on a famous novel by Niccolò Ammaniti. Drama, thriller.
Notte prima degli esami (2006) – Technically speaking not the best movie on this list, but still a must-see if you want to understand what the dreaded high school finals (a.k.a. la maturità) mean for Italian students. Comedy.
La ragazza del lago (2007) – the peace of a little town in northern Italy is disrupted when the body of a young woman is found dead on the lakeshore. Thriller, drama.
Il divo (2008) – the story of Giulio Andreotti, 7-times prime minister of Italy and a controversial figure. Drama, biopic. Great to get a glimpse of the complex world of Italian politics.
Gomorra (2008) – five stories dealing with the Camorra (a criminal organization mostly based in the Naples area) and its relations with the population. Thriller, noir. Probably not the best one to watch if you want to practise Italian, as most lines are delivered in Neapolitan (and are thus incomprehensible to many Italian speakers as well).
Baarìa (2009) – an autobiographic epic in three generations of the Sicilian village where film director Tornatore was born. There are two existing versions, one in Italian and the other in Sicilian. Drama, comedy. I love family sagas, and sobbed uncontrollably I can’t remember exactly at which point in the movie.
La prima cosa bella (2010) – after years of estrangement, Bruno finally goes back to his hometown to visit his dying mother, Anna. Alternating present-day narration and flashbacks, the movie follows the life of a mother and her two children and their strong, albeit problematic, bond. Comedic drama, you might be crying bittersweet tears by the end.
Benvenuti al sud (2010) – stereotypes from both northern and southern Italy meet in the delightful remake of the French movie Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis when Alberto, the manager of a postal service in northern Italy, is banished to Castellabate, obviously located in the South. Comedy.
Basilicata coast to coast (2010) – a music group and a journalist cross the region of Basilicata by foot to attend a music festival. Comedy, adventure.
Habemus papam (2011) – a cardinal is elected pope against his wishes, and needs the help of a therapist to overcome his terror. Half comedy, half drama.
Il capitale umano (2013) – on Christmas Eve, a waiter cycling home from working at a prestigious private school’s gala is hit by a car, whose driver flees, leaving the man close to death. Connected to the accident are two very different families. Drama, thriller.
La grande bellezza (2013) – aging socialite Jep Gambardella tries to find some meaning beyond the lavish display of empty riches plaguing his Roman nights spent between parties. Drama, comedy, won an Oscar when it came out. Chances are you’ll either love it or sleep through it (personally, I liked it quite a lot).
Smetto quando voglio (2014) – driven to despair by their precarious conditions, a group of underpaid (if paid at all) university researchers team up to produce a smart drug still not illegal in Italy to make a fast buck. The unlikely gang is surprisingly successful… Comedy, among the funniest I’ve seen recently.
Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot (2015) – an unlikely (anti)hero rises in the slums of Rome when thief Enzo Ceccotti acquires superpowers by falling into the river Tiber. Sci-fi, action, drama. Superhero movies meet Italian cinema, and it works better than anyone was expecting. Language might be an issue, since everyone is purposefully Very Much from Rome.
Non essere cattivo (2015) – a story of crime, drugs and attempted redemption in the outskirts of Rome. Action, drama. Luca Marinelli is one hell of an actor. Again, the language is more Roman than Italian.
La pazza gioia (2016) – professed countess (and notorious motor-mouth) Beatrice and frail, quiet Donatella (who was “born sad”) flee the psychiatric institution that hosts them. The odd pair will embark on a journey together, looking for fun, love, and – you guessed it – some happiness. Comedy-drama, manages to be hilarious and deeply moving at the same time.
Fuocoammare (2016) – a documentary capturing life on the Italian island of Lampedusa, a frontline in the European migrant crisis.
Perfetti sconosciuti (2016) – seven friends know each other like the back of their hand… or do they? What would happen if, as a playful game around the dinner table, they decided to share with the others every text, call and e-mail they get on their phone? Could they turn out to be total strangers? Witty and thought-provoking comedy with a number of twists.
Fai bei sogni (2016) – a boy struggles to come to terms with his mother’s death. Scenes from the protagonist’s childhood are intertwined with Others depicting his adult life. Drama. Ultimately, Valerio Mastandrea always manages to play someone with mommy issues somehow (he was also Bruno in La prima cosa bella). Drama.
Swedish books/movies/tv shows you should read/watch
Here is a list of swedish books/movies/tv shows that you should read/watch if you want to !
(this is not a ranking)
Desirée wants to know who stole her life. Institutionalised since early childhood due to severe disabilities, she lies in her hospital bed making plans. She can neither walk nor talk, but she has special abilities. Desirée is an ‘April witch’, which means that she’s able to see through other creatures’ eyes and can make them take her wherever she wants to. In her quest to find out which of her three foster sisters has stolen her life, Desirée becomes an invisible presence in their lives, following them, biding her time.
Simon and the Oaks
(Simon och ekarna) by Marianne Fredriksson.
Simon Larsson grows up in a working-class family in Gothenburg in the 1940s. World War II is raging. Simon’s father is a man of principles and strong views; his mother runs the home with love and warmth. But they are not his biological parents. Simon finds out that he was adopted and that his real father is Jewish. At school, Simon meets Isak Lentov, the son of a rich Jewish bookkeeper. The Lentovs, who fled from Nazi Germany before the war, becomes closely linked to Simon’s own family as the two boys make the transition from childhood to adulthood.
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
(Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann) by Jonas Jonasson.
On his 100th birthday, Allan Karlsson breaks out of an old people’s home, through the window. He is determined to fill his remaining days with adventure and embarks on a long journey through Sweden, being chased by thieves and police, making friends along the way. Mixed with his old-age adventure, his life’s story is told: he dines with president-to-be Harry S. Truman, hitchhikes with Winston Churchill, travels on a river boat with Mao Zedong’s wife and treks through the Himalayas.
Gösta Berling’s Saga
by Selma Lagerlöf.
A priest defrocked for misbehaving and drinking, Gösta Berling wants to die. The Mistress of Ekeby saves him from freezing to death and takes him in. As one of 12 party-loving homeless men in the manor at Ekeby, Gösta Berling becomes a leading spirit. But the evil Sintram lures the men into making a deal with the devil, which leads to the Mistress of Ekeby leaving home. Wild adventures, power struggle and redemption follow.
Let the Right One In
(Låt den rätta komma in) by John Ajvide Lindqvist.
It’s the winter of 1981 in the grey Stockholm suburb of Blackeberg. Twelve-year-old Oskar is being bullied. But he has a friend who lives next door, Eli. The two develop a close relationship, and Eli helps Oskar fight back against his tormentors. But this story is more than just a snapshot of average suburban life. Eli is a vampire, which Oskar has yet to find out. As mysterious murders spread fear and confusion in the community, Oskar starts to understand – but doesn’t abandon Eli.
(Vägen till Klockrike) by Harry Martinson.
In 1898, cigar maker Bolle faces big changes. Hand-rolled cigars have to give way to modern, machine-made, mass-produced cigars. Industrialisation is here and Bolle doesn’t like it. He hits the road. On wood-lined gravel roads we follow his vagabond journey through a Sweden about to change. Bolle learns how to beg without provoking people, faces the fear of inhabitants and meets riding policemen as well as vagabond friends. The vagabonds share a longing for freedom and a feeling of scepticism of the brave new world.
Popular Music from Vittula
(Populärmusik från Vittula) by Mikael Niemi.
Matti and his silent friend Niila grow up in Pajala in the very north of Sweden, in an area called Vittula. This is the 1960s/70s, when roads are covered with asphalt, small farms are closed and rock music hits the radio. The older generation doesn’t like the novelties, shaped as they are by memories of poorer times and by Laestadianism, a conservative Lutheran movement that started in Swedish Lapland. Mikael and his friends dream of another life, a life that awaits beyond the horizon.
Let Me Sing You Gentle Songs
(Nu vill jag sjunga dig milda sånger) by Linda Olsson.
One dark evening in March, Veronika arrives at a remote cottage in a small Swedish village, having come all the way from New Zealand. She is a young author longing for peace and quiet to be able to finish her novel and get on with her life after mourning a great loss. Veronika’s closest neighbour is Astrid, a loner. Behind her walls, dark family secrets and a personal tragedy are hidden. As the cold winter turns to spring, the two women slowly form a bond. Their friendship will change both of their lives forever.
The People of Hemsö
(Hemsöborna) by August Strindberg.
Carlsson is on his way to the island of Hemsö in the Stockholm archipelago to work at widow Flod’s farm. With Flod’s husband dead and her son Gusten not caring about farming, the farm is in a state of disorder. When Carlsson starts taking care of everything, Flod is happy, but her son finds Carlsson very snobbish. Eventually Carlsson marries Flod – but let’s just say she’s not the only woman on the island.
The Serious Game
(Den allvarsamma leken) by Hjalmar Söderberg.
Arvid Stjärnblom and Lydia Stille accidentally meet again, ten years after their young romance ended. Now, they are both married, but can’t help falling for each other again and start an affair. Lydia is an independent woman who gets a divorce and is prepared to follow her emotions, which turns out to have far-reaching consequences. Arvid, on the other hand, stays married to his wife with whom he has two children. It soon becomes clear that love is a serious game.
Natemare is guzzling water after a long recording session with Nate and is heading back to the shared apartment with Mad and Peevs when something starts to gnaw at him. Mare stops and looks around him in the glow of the streetlight buzzing above his head. Gnats fly around it, darting in and out of the light, but other than that, there is no movement as far as he can see.
Mare starts walking, the music in his headphones drowning out the outside world but not his worries, and he stops again to look behind him. No one is there but his shadow, and Mare tries to tell himself that, make himself believe it.
But it’s no use.
He’s not far away now, a couple of blocks at the most, but just when he’s managed to shake off his worries, a chill runs up and down his spine like a drop of freezing water. Mare whirls around only to come face to face with a smiling Darkiplier.
“Did you miss me?”
Mare rips out his headphones and takes a few steps back away from the monochromatic monster. “Don’t touch me! What I did to the glitch has nothing to do with you!”
“What you did to the glitch has everything to do with me. Your friend hurt Oliver, so the glitch snapped back. You hurt the glitch…” Dark’s smirk widens. “And I hurt you.”
“Why do you care what happens to one little robot? You have three more!” Mare stumbles backwards, his mist rising up around him as if to hide him from Dark’s piercing glare as he steps closer and closer. The ringing in Mare’s ears gets louder and louder until it’s the only thing he can hear.
And then Dark’s voice, “Lights out, little nightmare.” Dark does a roundhouse kick to Mare’s side and knocks the breath from his lungs. Mare darts out of the way and sends his vapor to swarm Dark’s head, sinking its teeth into his mind.
“Let’s see how you like it when someone takes your emotions and plays,” Mare growls and pours all his power into making Dark break under the weight of his fears.
Dark’s mind floods with ringing and a darkness that chokes out even the brightest light. He’s lost and drowning in oceans of pain and regret until it floods his nostrils and his mouth with inky black liquid. He claws to the surface for air, but instead he only swallows more water, shoved back down beneath the waves. His lungs are burning for air, and every part of his body is crying out, fighting for breath. But he grits his teeth and refuses to be afraid, especially not of himself.
Dark’s aura wraps around both Mare’s arms and his legs and drags him closer as the other figment screams for mercy. “Mercy,” Dark says with a laugh. “The only thing you’ll get from me are a few precious words of advice.” The tendrils of his aura suspend Mare in midair above Dark’s head.
To prevent “the rise of the robots” only benefitting “a powerful and wealthy few”, the report suggests “putting the ownership and control of the robots in the hands of those who work with them,” he will say.
“The technology of the digital age should empower us both as workers and consumers, allowing us to co-operate on a scale in a way that wasn’t possible in the past,” he will add.
“And yet too often it has given rein to a more rapacious and exploitative form of capitalism.”
Mr Corbyn will criticise the wages and conditions offered by the likes of cab-hailing app Uber and food delivery service Deliveroo.
Such companies say their drivers and riders are self-employed and therefore can work when they want - and in return for that flexibility they do not get the same benefits as full-time staff.
Mr Corbyn will say: “Imagine an Uber run co-operatively by their drivers, collectively controlling their futures, agreeing their own pay and conditions, with profits shared or re-invested.
"The biggest obstacle to this is not technological, but a rigged economic system that favours wealth extractors not wealth creators.”