Italian for Beginners (2000)

Chris
Italian for Beginners. This was a surprise. I had no idea that it was Danish, or that it was ‘Dogma 95′-certified or whatever. I assumed it was a glowy schmaltzy movie about falling in love in beatiful places. Anyway, both Abra and I really like this. I assume most people out there have already seen it — I’ve seen it mentioned on this site a number of times.

Reid
I never saw Italian for Beginners, but I have the same impression of the film you had. That’s why I never saw it. But you’re at least the second person I’ve heard who has said it was good, so I’ll try to check it out.

I watched Italian for Beginners. Several comments:

The trailers to this film are pretty misleading. Like you said, Max, they make this film look like a romance with beautiful settings.
I thought the stories and characters were OK, but not very compelling. Well, I like the Giulia character, just because she was attractive, so I followed that story with some interest.
I didn’t really care for the video look of the film. It sort of made the film look like a cheap soap opera. I know this was a dogma95 film, but Breaking the Waves didn’t look like this.

Chris
Max, I thought you’d like *Italian* a little more. Oh well. The unconventionality of the people and their weird troubles didn’t charm you? It did me.

Reid
The characters didn’t seem unconventional nor their troubles very weird. Helvfinn was sort of interesting, but the filmmaker never really got below the surface of the character. That’s true for all of them in fact. Am I missing something?

Did you like the whole “long-lost sisters” bit? I thought of you and, of course, the never executed long lost brothers scheme.

Mitchell
As for Italian for Beginners, it was genuinely sweet with likable characters who spoke a language I almost never hear. That’s good enough for thumbs up from me. Dogma95 aside, I appreciated the way the film was put together. The Dogma95 conventions were gravy, as far as I was concerned. Adding a soundtrack would have taken away from the film, and I don’t think a film should get big ups for NOT doing something that would make it worse.

Chris
Yes, long-lost sisters . . . yes, that seemed a bit much. Nothing else did, though, which is why I liked it. There wasn’t TOO much effort to ‘deepen’ everyone’s character in 90 minutes, and by unusual w/ unusual problems I guess I just meant sort of odd for the movies in that the probs didn’t feel overly set up.

Reid
I actually liked the long-lost sisters thing. I just wished the film dug deeper into the characters.

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