Marking the release of The American, we asked a group of American expat bloggers who now live in Italy to pick the films that most represent their new home country.
Mario Monicelli’s dramedy about a group of lifelong friends in Florence in the 1970s. There is a timelessness to the film. Many of the traits that today’s Florentines embody, like their joviality, down-to-earth nature, and jokiness, is shown throughout the film. The characters also use many Florentine words and expressions that are still prevalent today.
Pane e Tulipani
One of my favorite films, Silvio Soldini’s comedy is about a woman who, after she is left behind during a family vacation, travels alone to Venice. There, she creates a new life and rediscovers herself. This heartfelt movie is a great affirmation for Italian women that they are more than their roles of mother and wife.
Just before moving to Florence, I watched this movie to get my ear attuned to the Italian language. I later discovered that the accent in the film was quite different from the one used in Florence. It was such a revelation for me to learn that in Italy a person is not defined by profession, status, or title, but, rather, is valued for who he/she truly is. I especially appreciate the concept that beauty—whether of a person or a place—can inspire one to open the heart.
Tea with Mussolini
This American film from the Italian Franco Zeffirelli recounts the lives of expatriates in Florence at the beginning of World War II. Even though expats are now more integrated in Florence, the film is a lovely attest to how they were so attached to their city that they refused to leave even in a time of great peril.
Il Pranzo di Ferragosto
A glimpse into the life of a man who takes care of his elderly mother. The movie depicts day-to-day Italian life and lets us experience realistic conversations, from chatter with locals to intimate conversations between family members. While Italian mothers are known for taking good care of their sons, this film shows how a son, when the time comes, looks after his mother.