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The Dinner (1998)
"La cena" (original title)

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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 750 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 4 critic

An evening at an Italian restaurant. Hosted by tolerant and relaxed Flora, various parties of middle-class people come in -- large and small, young and old, regulars and tourists, married ... See full summary »



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Title: The Dinner (1998)

The Dinner (1998) on IMDb 7/10

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2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Antonio Catania ...
Mago Adam
Francesca d'Aloja ...
Riccardo Garrone ...
Maestro Pezzullo
Nello Mascia ...
Adalberto Maria Merli ...
Corrado Olmi ...
Eros Pagni ...
Daniela Poggi
Rolando Ravello
Stefano Antonucci


An evening at an Italian restaurant. Hosted by tolerant and relaxed Flora, various parties of middle-class people come in -- large and small, young and old, regulars and tourists, married and single -- to dine, converse, argue, celebrate, make confessions; to overhear other people's discussions, to interrupt them, to sing, listen to music, and enjoy life. The camera, just like the people, moves constantly from table to table, into the kitchen and the back room to observe the staff's petty jealousies and frustrations -- until two hours later it's time for everybody to go home. Written by Markku Kuoppamäki

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


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Release Date:

27 November 1998 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

La cena  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Pure Poetry - great art and great entertainment, hand in hand
2 February 2002 | by See all my reviews

This film is no small feat, by most criteria. There is not one scene, one piece of dialogue that doesn't work perfectly in its own right and in relation to the broader context of the movie. All characters are solidly conceived and utterly believable, and the flawless, well-measured acting of the WHOLE cast render them authentic and charismatic.

Depicting simply a night at a traditional Italian restaurant, the movie doesn't have a major unifying plot. It never needed one in the first place. The situations particular to each group of characters, to each table, are more than enough to keep the audience following the action flow through the place. The viewer's attention is held at peak throughout the whole movie, from beginning to end, which is a very rare and amazing achievement for any film. Even more amazing a feat it is for a movie which happens in one single place, with no more than a restaurant's few facilities for the action to spread.

As a whole, 'La Cena' showcases an intriguing and thoughtful, yet pleasant rendition of people's dilemmas, joys and relationships, contrary to the perception that "art" movies are tiresome, intellectual, self-indulgent exercises. This film potraits the beauty and poetry of life and human nature (corny, but nonetheless true), as masterfully as few but the European cinema masters can. A great example of the Italian tradition of moviemaking, ten out of ten, no doubt about it.

And on top of everything else, aren't there ugly, charmless women in Italy? Madonna mia!

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