9 November 2009 4:45 PM, PST | Screenrush | See recent Screenrush news »

With its silent superspectacles, postwar neo-realism and 1960s new wave, the Italian film industry has enjoyed three major periods of international influence. In between times, it has assimilated the technological advances and dramatic styles of foreign competitors and used them to shape such local trends as the `white telephone' film, calligraphism, giallo, the `sword and sandal' epic, the `spaghetti' Western and the dialect comedy.

Over the years, the unexpected has become commonplace. Therefore, it's no surprise to see Gianni di Gregorio, the screenwriter of the uncompromising crime saga Gomorrah, making his directorial debut with Mid-August Lunch, a charming comedy of bourgeois manners, whose unforced naturalism, social insight and deceptive wit hark back to a golden age that is recalled here by MovieMail - the best place to buy classic movies and world cinema on DVD.

After two decades of propaganda and pictorialism, Italian film went back to basics after the Second World War. »

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