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Italian for Beginners (2000)
"Italiensk for begyndere" (original title)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  8 December 2000 (Denmark)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 10,965 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 87 user | 96 critic | 28 from Metacritic.com

Several lonely hearts in a semi-provincial suburb of a town in Denmark use a beginner's course in Italian as the platform to meet the romance of their lives.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anders W. Berthelsen ...
...
...
Karen
...
Lars Kaalund ...
Sara Indrio Jensen ...
Karen-Lise Mynster ...
Kirsten, the real estate dealer
Rikke Wölck ...
Lise, the nurse
Elsebeth Steentoft ...
Bent Mejding ...
Reverend Wredmann
Lene Tiemroth ...
Karen's Mother
Claus Gerving ...
Klaus Graversen
...
Olympia's Father
Merete Voldstedlund ...
Andreas' mother (scenes deleted)
Henning Jensen ...
Leif (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

A young minister, a widower, is temporarily assigned to a church whose suspended pastor drove parishioners away; he stays at a hotel where he meets Jørgen, who's alone approaching middle age. Jørgen's friend Finn, a temperamental restaurant manager, may be about to be fired. Finn's assistant is Giulia, a lovely young Italian who prays for a husband. Olympia, a clumsy bakery clerk, has an ornery father; Karen, a hairdresser, has a mother who is very ill. The paths of these six characters cross at church, in the restaurant, at the hotel, and at an Italian class at the local adult school. Loneliness, grief, solace, romance, and love may meet 'nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita.' Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

To speak the language of love, first you have to feel it. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

8 December 2000 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Italiano para principiantes  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£48,027 (UK) (3 May 2002)

Gross:

$4,447,186 (USA) (5 July 2002)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film complies with several aesthetic principles of Dogme 95, including use of hand-held cameras and natural lighting. See more »

Goofs

At the Christmas service, the congregation use the hymn book to sing "Barn Jesus i en krybbe lå". However, this song was not included in the hymn book of 1953 (which would be the one used in the movie) as it was not considered a 'proper' hymn until 2003, when it was included in the newest version of the hymn book. See more »

Quotes

Olympia's Father: That sounds disgusting.
See more »

Connections

References Taxa (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

O sole mio
(1898)
Music by Eduardo Di Capua
Lyrics by Giovanni Capurro
See more »

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User Reviews

Dogma For Beginners
12 March 2002 | by See all my reviews

This is a pleasant and entertaining little movie and it was fun seeing new faces and styles. The story is interesting and relevant. The people believable and charming. I enjoyed getting to know them as they got to know each other. the film employs a delicate approach to such topics as death, impotence, God and loneliness. I wasn't always enthralled. A couple of scenes dragged a bit and my attention began to wander. The woes and goals of some characters lacked originality. The situations have been depicted many times in many movies. None the less, I was never bored, never annoyed and did not feel slighted as the viewer.

An impressive cast and tight direction keep the show moving efficiently and provide a dependable vehicle for the delivery of the intended results in a satisfying manner.

What surprised me was the number of cinematic conventions incorporated into a project that reportedly meant to avoid them. I claim no authority on the Dogma 95 movement, but I understand they aspire to strip a movie of as many mainstream cliches as possible. Standard story elements and cinematography are not what the filmmakers wish to present.

One of the conventions they frown on is the artificial insertion of background music. Yet this movie does use such incidental music in one scene, in a very traditional format. It's even an old, familiar tune. Like "Rock Of Ages" at a funeral or "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" when we see Yankee Stadium. And for an approach expected to break with tradition, there is an awful lot of happily ever after in the resolutions to the various conflicts.

The average looking actors and the less than beautiful scenery add greatly to the believability. The fun they, and in turn, we have with it offsets any flaws in the production. But it's going to take more than a hand held camera and a Scandinavian accent to overcome 100 years of accepted film technique. But I enjoyed the show and if they keep trying, I'll keep watching.


15 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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