In order to truly understand Italians and the Italian language, one must watch Italian movies on Netflix. To help you learn the Italian language, Netflix has “generously” made most of these films Italian audio-only, but there’s always the option to add English subtitles in!
I have seen the following three films on Netflix and I’ve learned a lot from them. I think you will too…
I have seen this film twice, once in Italy with my Apulian host brother, and another time in my Italian conversations class in college. Let’s just say there are some scenes that you might not want to witness with your older professoressa present. This movie is a comedy about a small-town fisherman who mistakenly becomes the president of Italy. It is filled of rich dialectal phrases that you would never find in your Italian textbook. It also beautifully highlights the differences between American and Italian humor- there are many moments that would possibly offend an American, but definitely not the general Italian public. This is a great introduction to this form of Italian humor- if you enjoy it, you could next check out Checco Zalone’s films. Checco’s work is the epitome of good old Southern, Barese humor. Fun fact- my other host brother was featured in one of his films!
This was originally a book, a beautiful book that I would highly recommend for you to read first! I definitely enjoyed watching it, having already read it beforehand. This is the story of a boy who falls in love with a girl who is diagnosed with leukemia. It is heartwarming and pays an ode to classic Italian culture with references to Dante- he compares his love for her, Beatrice, to that of Dante’s for his beloved, angelic Beatrice. This character is, in fact, the modern-day Dante. Although this a more melancholic story, this is a ‘young adult’ book, which means it is easier to understand than many of the other Italian books out there. It is also a charming book about young love- what more do you need?
Ancora a funny film. This is a modern-day Odyssey about two men who live very different lives who become stuck together in very unfortunate, silly circumstances. This is a great movie for soccer fans, people who want to learn some ‘slang’ or dialectal phrases, and for people who simply want a good laugh. This is in the same style as Benvenuto, Presidente, although I would argue that this movie is even more ridiculous!
If you are still in search of more Italian movies to watch on Netflix, you can always watch documentaries. Fire at Sea, or Fuocoammare, is a great choice. It is an award-winning work about Lampedusa, where thousands of refugees are brought each year to Italy. Sacro GRA is about a road trip through Italy, First Team Juventus is great for ‘football’ lovers, and there’s a political documentary, My Way, about the former prime minister, Berlusconi.
Have fun watching these new picks! Remember that they are always great conversation topics for your next Lex ‘language experience!’