Rome: 10 “Must-See” Films set in the City

Being a cultural and historical centre for centuries, Rome has always attracted leading cinematographers. In the 1950s and 1960s, Rome was considered the European “Hollywood”, embodied in the famous Cinecittà film studio that produced such epic films as “Ben-Hur” (1959) and “Cleopatra” (1963). To this day, this historic city remains the one to which filmmakers flock to: (i) showcase its main beauties and cultural delights, as is the case with “Roman Holiday” (1953), ““Plein Soleil” (1961), “My Own Private Idaho” (1991) and “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (1999); (ii) to ridicule Rome’s high society and decadent lifestyle, as in “La Dolce Vita” (1960) and “The Great Beauty” (2013); or (iii) to provide a setting for a grim, chaotic, (post-)war, almost apocalyptic scenario, as embodied in such films as “Rome, Open City” (1945), “Bicycle Thieves” (1948), “L’Eclisse” (1962) and “Il Conformista” (1970). 

I. Roman Holiday (1953)Hot-Sale-Roman-Holiday-Metal-Tin-Sign-20-30cm-Vintage-Metal-Art-Poster-Retro-Special-Bar

Directed by William Wyler (“Ben-Hur“), this tale about a princess who escapes from her tiresomely busy daily duties while in Rome only to meet and have a romantic connection with a journalist is fascinating, recalling in plot “It Happened One Night” (1934). In Rome, Princess Ann and Joe Bradley (Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in their respective leading roles), go through the famous sights of Rome, including: meeting at the Roman Forum (more precisely at the Temple of Saturn and the Arch of Septimus Severus), where the Princess falls asleep; trying their luck at the Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verita) at the Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin; going past on a scooter by the Colosseum; having breakfast near the Pantheon; taking in the sun on the Spanish Steps; and attending the interview at the Palazzo Colonna.

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25 “Must-See” Biographical Films

In no particular order:

1.  Schindler’s List (1993)

2. The Aviator (2004)

3. Elizabeth (1998)

4. Gandhi (1982)

5. Milk (2008) 

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10 “Must-See” Films about Cults

In no particular order:

1. The Master (2012)

2. The Wicker Man (1973)

3. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

4. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

5. Ticket to Heaven (1981)

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20 Films with the Coolest Songs

The definition of “cool” is malleable and changeable. However, if there was one agreed definition, these films would have been real contestants in winning “The Coolest Songs in a Film” award. The list only includes movies with multiple “cool” vocal songs (with lyrics) and excludes animations. In no particular order:

  1. Pulp Fiction (1994) – “You Never Can Tell” by Chuck Berry;Girl, You’ll be a Woman Soon” by Urge Overkill; “Flowers on the Wall” by the Statler Brothers, etc.  
  1. Back to the Future (1985) – “Heaven is One Step Away” by Eric Clapton; “The Power Of Love” by Huey Lewis & the News; “Johnny B. Goode” by Mark Campbell (Chuck Berry), etc.
  1. Drive (2011) – “Nightcall” by Kavinsky; “A Real Hero” by College & Electric Youth; “Under Your Spell” by Desire, etc.
  1. Django Unchained (2012) – “Django” by Rocky Roberts & Luis Bacalov; “Freedom” by Anthony Hamilton & Elayna Boynton; “I Got A Name” by Jim Croce, etc.
  1. The Great Gatsby (2013)“Love Is Blindness” by Jack White; “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” by Fergie feat. Q-Tip & GoonRock; “Over the Love” by Florence and the Machine, etc.  Read more of this post

Girl Power: 20 Great Book-to-Film Adaptations

This list features book-to-film adaptations where either the film director or book author (or both) was female. This list excludes Jane Austen & Bronte sistersadaptations [1] to draw attention to other novels/stories. In no particular order:

1)  To Kill a Mockingbird (1962): Harper Lee, author

2) The Virgin Suicides (1999): Sofia Coppola, director

3) The Talented Mr Ripley (1999): Patricia Highsmith, author

4) Chocolat (2000): Joanne Harris, author

5) American Psycho (2000): Mary Harron, director

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10 “Must-See” Animated Films from 2010s

  1. Inside Out (2015)

inside-outThe winner of the Academy Award in the category of the Best Animated Picture of 2015, “Inside Out” is a film about a little girl who moves with her parents from suburban Minnesota to San Francisco. The movie is a little masterpiece, and it is a great injustice it was not nominated for an Academy Award in the general category. The main brilliance of the movie is its originality and intelligence – it teaches young children about psychology: the movie is divided into the “real world” and the “world inside the mind” of a person. There are different emotions that govern the decision-making processes: joy, sadness, anger, fear and disgust, each represented by an “entity”, as well as other processes such as short-term and long-term memories, personality-building, dream processes, etc. The movie is laugh-out-aloud funny, extremely entertaining, and flawless in its execution and content, even though very young kids may fail to grasp the meaning of everything that is going on. Overall, “Inside Out” is an instant classic, and, easily, one of best animated films I have ever seen. 10/10

  1. April and the Extraordinary World (2016)

april-in-the-extraordinary-worldApril and the Extraordinary World” is a French-Belgian-Canadian animated film co-directed by Christian Desmares (animator behind “Corto Maltese in Siberia” (2002) and “Persepolis” (2007)) and Franck Ekinci. It tells of a teenage girl, April (voiced by Marion Cotillard in a French version), who, together with her talking cat Darwin and her grandfather Pops, is looking for her long-lost scientist parents. The year is 1941, and it is an alternate reality: there are no scientists left who could have made the “progress”, such as electricity, possible. The world is “stuck” in a steam age, and the city’s scientists have been “witch-hunted” for decades. However, the final act of the film may be too brutal and “over-the top”, and the relationship between April and her love interest is reminding too much of that found in “Anastasia” (1997)[1]. Sometimes reminding in its setting and ideas of  Schuiten & Peeters’s comic Brüsel, sometimes reminiscing of some Tintin adventure, the movie is a great one overall: clever and very imaginative, full of exciting adventure. 9/10 Read more of this post

10 “Must-See” German-Language Films

These are good movies, worth watching. Note, the list is non-exhaustive and in no particular order.

1. The Lives of Others (2006)

2. Das Boot (1982)

3. Europa, Europa (1990)

4. Downfall (2004)

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