L’INFERNO (Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Padovan, Giuseppe de Liguoro, 1911)

Based on the first part, “L’inferno,” of La divina commedia, which Dante Alighieri wrote in the first quarter of the fourteenth century, L’inferno is credited as being the first feature-length film from Italy. It is visually beautiful, but fragmentary, incomplete; it provides little insight, for example, into the relationship between Dante, who journeys into the […]

100 GREATEST FILMS FROM ITALY, SPAIN, GREECE AND PORTUGAL, PART I

This list includes the best films I have seen from Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece—or those I consider to be the one hundred best on a particular day. The list is chronological, except that multiple entries for a given year appear in order of preference. The list considers films through 2006. (Some of the films […]

100 GREATEST FILMS FROM ITALY, SPAIN, GREECE AND PORTUGAL, PART II

This is the second half of the list. 1969 51. FELLINI SATYRICON. Inspired by Petronius, Federico Fellini’s Fellini Satyricon followed the swank and soap opera of La dolce vita (1959) and the vacancy of 8½ (1963), in which a filmmaker who has just had a stupendous hit—read in La dolce vita—is given lots of money […]

SVADBA (Pavel Lungin, 2000)

Expanding on the humanity of his earlier Luna Park (1992), Russian writer-director Pavel Lungin’s Svadba (in the U.S., The Wedding) is warm, messy, overflowing, joyously accessible. Revolving around a wedding celebration in a beleaguered mining town between the time of perestroika and the Soviet Union’s collapse, Svadba is humane, hectic and hilarious.      The bride is […]