Reading Advisory at the Ames Public Library
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Reading Advisory at the Ames Public Library
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Italian Films at Ames Public Library

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The Salt of Life (DVD FOREIGN SAL)  90 min.  2012. 

A middle-aged retiree has become invisible to all the women of Rome, regardless of age or relation. He contends with a demanding mother; a patronizing wife; a slacker daughter; and a wild party-girl neighbor who uses him, as a dog walker. Watching his codger friends snare beautiful young girlfriends on the sun-kissed cobblestones of Trastevere, Giovanni tries his polite, utterly gracious best to generate some kind of extracurricular love life, with both hilarious and poignant results.

Seven Beauties (DVD FOREIGN SEV)  115 min.  1976. 

A small-time Casanova with no political convictions and fewer brains shoots his sister's pimp to save the family honor. He is caught, tried, and sent to an insane asylum. He then volunteers for the Italian army and ends up in a Nazi concentration camp where he learns to survive at any cost.

Shoeshine (DVD FOREIGN SHO)  91 min.  1946. 

In post WWII Italy, Giuseppe and Pasquale work on the street shining the shoes of American troops. But when the boys are falsely accused of a crime, they are sent to a brutal state juvenile detention center.

The Sicilian Girl (DVD FOREIGN SIC)  110 min. 2009. 

A 17-year-old Sicilian girl whose father and brother were both Mafia members (and victims) breaks the vow of silence that enshrouds that world, and gives evidence to famed anti-Mafia judge Paolo Borsellino. Her days are numbered from that moment on.

The Son's Room (DVD FOREIGN SON)  99 min.  2002. 

A family struggles to go on after a devastating loss.  Giovanni (Moretti) is a psychiatrist with a successful practice. He has a warm relationship with his wife Paola (Morante). They have a daughter, Irene (Trinca) and a son, Andrea (Sanfelice). The family's calm is shattered when Andrea is unexpectedly killed in an accident. Arianna (Vigliar) is a girl who had a summer romance with Andrea the year before, and has come to town to pay him a surprise visit, unaware of his recent death.

The Star Maker (DVD FOREIGN STA)  107 min.  1995. 

A con man travels from one small town to another claiming to be a talent scout for a top movie studio.

La Strada (DVD FOREIGN STR)  107 min.  1954. 

A pathetic, impressionable little woman is sold to the strong man in a traveling sideshow. She falls in love with him, but her love is not returned until it is too late. Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film of 1956.

Swept Away (DVD FOREIGN SWE)  116 min.  1975. 

A wealthy upper-class capitalist and a working-class deckhand on her yacht are marooned on an uninhabited island for several weeks. The woman becomes totally dependent on the man for survival, falls in love with him, and the two temporarily reverse their roles.

Tickets (DVD FOREIGN TIC)  115 min.  2005. 

An elderly businessman finds solace and new insight into life when he meets a younger woman, who then arranges his train ticket after his flight is canceled. A young man is torn between an older woman who controls him and a younger one who attacks him. And three Scottish youths on their way to the football match of their dreams are forced to open their eyes and see the bigger picture. In each case, the train journey changes the course of all their lives.

The Tree of Wooden Clogs (DVD FOREIGN TRE)  177 min.  1978. 

Deceptively simple tale of a village of peasants in Italy at the turn of the century. It follows four families through the seasons, and shows the seemingly small events that influence their lives and the love they feel for the land and their families.

The Trial Begins (DVD FOREIGN TRI)  96 min.  2007. 

Young Filippo Costa rises through the ranks of the Financial Police via his own opportunity for corruption.  But when he connects with a wealthy older widow, Filippo quickly becomes a part of Rome’s social, financial, and political elite.  In a nation that rewards ruthless ambition, what must one man ultimately sacrifice to build his own empire?

Two Women (DVD FOREIGN TWO)  110 min.  1961. 

To escape city bombing, an Italian mother and daughter travel Italy during World War II trying to survive famine, rape by soldiers, and horrors of war.

Umberto D. (DVD FOREIGN UMB)  89 min.  1955. 

A government pensioner, living alone with his beloved dog, struggles to keep up a semblance of dignity on his inadequate pension.

The Unknown Woman  (DVD FOREIGN UNK)  120 min.  2006. 

A Ukrainian woman with a secret works her way into the lives of an affluent family.  She becomes the couple’s trusted maid and beloved nanny to their daughter.  But deep cracks in Irena’s dedication appear as her horrific past and chilling obsession are revealed.

Vincere (DVD FOREIGN VIN)  125 min.  2009. 

Benito Mussolini scorned, denounced and wrote out of history the woman he once loved. His rise to power and her descent into insanity are tragic counterpoints.

We Have a Pope (DVD FOREIGN WE) 102 min.  2011. 

At the Vatican, following the demise of the Pope, the conclave to elect his successor settles on Cardinal Melville. But the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square wait in vain for the new Pope to step out on the balcony. What is going on? Behind the thick walls of the Vatican panic has set in. After uttering a terrible howl of fear, the Cardinal refuses the office. The officials do everything to try to reason with Melville, including a psychoanalyst, appointed by the Vatican.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (DVD FOREIGN YES)  Dubbed in English.  119 min.  1963. 

Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni team up in three hilarious sexual escapades in this delightful comedy anthology that helped establish the two stars as the most popular Italian performers of 20th century cinema. This film won an Academy Award in for Best Foreign Language Film of 1963.