7.0/10
12,659
89 user 99 critic

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

Writer:

Lone Scherfig (screenplay)
20 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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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)
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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:

View content advisory »
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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 »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

References Taxa (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Barn Jesus i en krybbe la
(hymn)
See more »

User Reviews

Nine Lovely People, No Villains!
24 January 2002 | by lawprofSee all my reviews

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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Frequently Asked Questions

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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