LADRI DI BICICLETTA (1948)

The prototype of the postwar European realism, it is a very simple movie about the cycle of poverty that worked way better for me than I would have thought.

THE NIGHT PORTER (1974)

A highly controversial drama about the Holocaust, trauma, and sadomasochism, among other things. It’s probably better than that combination makes it sound.

JOURNEY TO ITALY (1954)

Italian Robert Rossellini directs his Swedish wife, Ingrid Bergman, in English in this surprisingly modern take on a marriage which, finding itself in unfamiliar territory, immediately disintegrates.

L’AVVENTURA (1960)

A landmark of “modernist” cinema, but don’t expect it to, y’know, have a story or make any attempt to explain anything.

AMARCORD (1974)

Federico Fellini’s exaggerated childhood memories form the basis for this story of a year in the life of a 1930s Italian small town.

ROMA CITTÁ APERTA (1945)

Perhaps the definitive “neorealist” film, shot in the rubble of Occupied Rome just after the Nazis had left.

8 ½ (1963)

Federico Fellini couldn’t figure out how to make a movie and made a movie about not being able to make a movie. I’m still trying to figure it out.

SUSPIRIA (1977)

The plot may make no sense, but this gory, psychedelic fever dream still retains its power after all these years.

THE LEOPARD (1963)

I was floored by this Italian epic about the fall of the aristocracy, written by a prince and directed by a Marxist, starring, of all people, Burt Lancaster.