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Italian for Beginners (2000)

Italiensk for begyndere (original title)
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.

Director:

Lone Scherfig

Writers:

Maeve Binchy (based on her novel "Evening Class"), Lone Scherfig (screenplay)
20 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anders W. Berthelsen Anders W. Berthelsen ... Andreas
Anette Støvelbæk ... Olympia
Ann Eleonora Jørgensen ... Karen
Peter Gantzler ... Jørgen Mortensen
Lars Kaalund Lars Kaalund ... Hal-Finn
Sara Indrio Jensen Sara Indrio Jensen ... Giulia
Karen-Lise Mynster Karen-Lise Mynster ... Kirsten, the real estate dealer
Rikke Wölck Rikke Wölck ... Lise, the nurse
Elsebeth Steentoft Elsebeth Steentoft ... Kirketjener
Bent Mejding Bent Mejding ... Reverend Wredmann
Lene Tiemroth Lene Tiemroth ... Karen's Mother
Claus Gerving Claus Gerving ... Klaus Graversen
Jesper Christensen ... Olympia's Father
Merete Voldstedlund Merete Voldstedlund ... Andreas' mother (scenes deleted)
Henning Jensen ... Leif (scenes deleted)
Edit

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Sandrew Metronome

Country:

Denmark | Sweden

Language:

Danish | Italian | English

Release Date:

10 May 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Italiano para principiantes See more »

Filming Locations:

Avedøre, Sjælland, Denmark See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$66,047, 21 January 2002

Gross USA:

$4,544,753

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$16,350,876
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Official submission of Denmark for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 74th Academy Awards in 2002. 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 »

Alternate Versions

The R1 DVD release features an even shorter cut of the film, running only 97 minutes. See more »

Connections

References Priest (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Thoroughly enjoyable and totally devoid of Hollywood-style contrivance
2 February 2003 | by Xenon242See all my reviews

I had the pleasure of seeing Italiensk for begyndere in a pretty small, intimiate cinema, which set the audience up beautifully for this movie.

The characters really drive this story, rather than the film pushing the characters around. What results is a movie that takes its own time to say what it needs to say, and that allows us to gain insight on what really is a broad spectrum of very human, very diverse personalities.

Romantic comedies-dramas, by and large, are pretty hit-and-miss, though more miss than hit if they come from Hollywood. They're bogged down in clichés, saccarine melodrama and characters that don't at all behave like real people. Italiensk for begyndere avoids all that, giving us characters that could just as well be the person sitting three seats from you in the cinema, that's how human they are.

I didn't feel at all cheated with this film, and left the cinema feeling like I saw a film that speaks to people. Superb.


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