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Italian for Beginners (2001)

Cast: Anders W. Berthelsen, Peter Gantzler, Lars Kaalund, more...
Director: Lone Scherfig
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Walt Disney Video
Genre: Foreign, Romantic Comedy, Scandinavia
Running Time: 97 min.
Languages: Italian
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

The Dogma 95 movement has seen some searing looks into the human condition but rarely a romantic comedy -- until now. Veteran Danish filmmaker Lone Scherfig spins this deadpan look at a group of lovelorn outsiders living in a grey corner of Copenhagen. After the perennially foul-tempered minister of a local church is fired after doing great injury to the organist, Andreas moves to the area to take over the parish. Staying in a hotel until his predecessor can be wrested from the rectory, Andreas befriends the establishment's scatter-brained manager, Jørgen, who is utterly in love with a beautiful Italian barmaid working at a nearby pub run by Hal-Finn. When the irascible Hal-Finn is chastised by the bar's owner for his unkempt appearance, he goes to a local salon where he meets Karen, a comely hairdresser harried by her grasping mom. Meanwhile, Andreas falls for a lethally klutzy pastry shop assistant named Olympia. This film was screened at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide

You might also enjoy:
The King is Alive
Another Dogme 95 film also stands pretty well on its own; not quite as light but memorable

Before Scherfig's film, this was Dogme's most charming and touching work

GreenCine Member Reviews

Breezy little movie plus Dogma 95 = this by noosh June 4, 2003 - 1:10 PM PDT
5 out of 6 members found this review helpful
If this movie were conventionally directed it would've been light, unremarkable, and forgettable. The addition of Dogma 95 style just made it light, remarkable, and forgettable. It's hard for me to understand the big reviews, when most of the story arcs could be predicted once you could make out enough mumbling to know what each character was doing. This was my first D95 movie, and I was surprised that such a, well, dogmatic approach would be applied to this kind of story -- isn't the dogma supposed to be about realism?

life in venice by birchfield January 31, 2003 - 7:34 PM PST
5 out of 7 members found this review helpful
Filmed in a documentary style, this movie seems to want to compensate for lack of special effects by exaggerating the characters. You keep asking yourself if truth could ever become as strange as this fiction. As far as story line, this is a relationship film that gets its movement from something good finally happening to the thoroughly depressed characters. What a relief! You wont have to commit suicide and you will probably even be charmed...

Dogme95 for Beginners by richling December 28, 2002 - 3:59 PM PST
9 out of 9 members found this review helpful
At least, that's what it was for me. It was the first Dogme95 film I've had a chance to see. And, it was fantastic. The story relies a lot on coincidence and is fairly contrived. On the surface, it could even appear to be some weird Danish version of "Friends." However, in line with Dogme95's approach, these characters reveal a lot of truth. It's rare that, with an ensemble cast, I can identify with more than one or two of the main characters. It seems pretty much like that's how most current movies function. Here, I found all six of the main leads to be moving, sympathetic, and honest.
By the way, the video cover/movie poster might incline you to think this is some sexy, tour of Venice "romp." Fair to say, this film is not about those kinds of clichés. See it!

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.52)
142 Votes
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