Long, (six hours) beautiful, Italian, multi-decade saga about a family with two brothers on divergent paths, and the women in their lives; including a mental patient, (pictured) a member of the Red Brigades, a librarian/photographer, a judge, a school teacher/mother and a young daughter (who takes fencing lessons.) Loved it!

LA SCORTA (1993)


Ennio Morricone scored this low key Italian police procedural. Bodyguard cops protect a magistrate from La Cosa Nostra and political corruption. Way cool locations, not too violent.



Italian neorealist Vittorio De Sica defines the genre with a story of two young shoeshine boys working the streets of postwar Rome, hoodwinked into committing a crime and sent to prison where their friendship is tested. Heartbreaking and beautiful.

Netflix: http://movies.netflix.com/Movie/Shoeshine/60035925?trkid=496624#height1666

SENSO (1954)


Italian director & writer Luchino Visconti is a master of realistic romantic period pieces. His films are like paintings, with long takes, slow pans and generous depth of field. Visconti's films focus on the cycles of romantic love, society, and personal integrity. It's so strange to see Farley Granger dubbed in Italian, but I rather fancy him that way. The bonus features help put Senso in perspective. I loved it, and not just because it's set in Italy 1866, has no close-ups, no hand-held camera, sparse editing, and long luxurious takes.

Official Site: http://www.criterion.com/films/27543-senso
Netflix: http://movies.netflix.com/Movie/Senso/70159612?trkid=496624#height1656