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
The film complies with several aesthetic principles of Dogme 95, including use of hand-held cameras and natural lighting. See more »
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 »
What a pleasure "Italian for Beginners" is. Each character is appealing as well as complex and recognizable. A new pastor, bereft after his wife's death, interacts with an assortment of people who by accident or stumbling and fumbling intent come together in overlapping relationships. Romance is in the air, deaths dislocate several of the characters' lives, comedic movements help all to cope with the vagaries of life.
Taking place mostly in Denmark (with a restaurant manager whose style convinces me that he must have done an internship in a New York City eatery), the story revolves around the central goal of learning Italian. Only one of the main characters is from Italy, a beautiful waitress with the clearest agenda of anyone in the film. After wrestling through a non-Berlitz approach to the language all head for Venice where hearts meet and fun reigns.
Dogma 95 certificate or not, this is a convincing, endearing, excellent film. By intent or otherwise, many scenes are shot with a slight jerkiness that adds to a viewer's sense of inclusion.
Unfortunately this film won't screen in many theatres and rentals and sales will be the path to a wider audience. And this film merits a very big following.
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