Rossellini, Totó, Massimo Troisi and Vittorio De Sica are just a few of the Italian Cinema’s masters, and Naples have been set as a backdrop for many Italian and international films. Last week, I had the opportunity to interview Massimiliano Gaudisi, who explained that Naples is an interesting case for film partly because of its artistic tradition for music and theatre, but also because Naples was an important production centre for silent and sound filmmaking before and after the Second World War.
So here is a look at Massimiliano Gauiduos’ 5 favourite films set in Naples in no particular order. This top 5 is not meant to be the best films ever set in Naples but rather a starting point for further exploration of Neapolitan films for anyone who might be interested. Enjoy 🙂
Journey to Italy, Roberto Rossellini, 1953
Journey to Italy by Rossellini is considered by many as one of the most influential films in the Italian Cinema. Set in the backdrop of Naples, this film is about an English couple’s declining marriage who sets on a trip in the countryside near Naples to sell some property and do some sightseeing. After arriving to Naples, the couple’s relationship starts to disintegrate because of misunderstandings and jealousy. To read a review of this film, click here.
Marriage Italian Style, Vittorio De Sica, 1964
Marriage Italian Style is a romantic comedy film based on a play by the Neapolitan Eduardo De Filippo. This film established the main actors Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni as one of the most popular screen couples in the international film.
Loren who portrays Filumena Marturano in the film, is a mistress of the businessman Domenico Soriano (Mastroianni), who saves her from a life of prostitution while she was still young. Even though he is happy to spend time in bed with her, he is not willing to marry her. When she realises that, Filumena fakes a fatal illness in order to lure him to the altar. He discovers this little ploy, and charges her with a fraud, but Filumena is able to outsmart him again.
Macaroni, Ettore Scola, 1985
Jack Lemmon stars the Amerian World War ll veteran Robert Traven, who returns to Naples for the first time since 1946, when he had an affair with an Italian girl named Maria. The girls’s brother, Antonio Jasiello immidiatly recognises Robert and they catch up on the good old days. When Antonio takes Robert to visit Maria, Robert discovers Antonio has been writing letters to her in Robert’s name for years, building up Robert to legendary status. Since the letters were not kept secret, everyone who knows Maria and Antonio greets Robert as if he were a living legend.
Scusate il Ritardo, Massimo Troisi, 1983
The Neapolitan co-writer and director Massimo Troisi stars in this comedy about Vincenzo, a young man living at home in Naples with his mother and his sister. Vincenzo meets Anna at a party and the two begin an affair that is threatened when Anna is offered a job in Perugia, in Central Italy. Depending on Vincenzo’s response, Anna will either leave or stay. Troisi’s comic presence carries this film through the Neapolitan dialogues, which might be dense at times.
L’amore Molesto, Mario Martone, 1995
In this Italian psychological thriller, a woman goes to investigate the suicide of her mother and ends up having to face the grim reality of her past. It all begins when Amalia, the mother of Delia, is found dead on the beach. Wanting to know why her mother killed herself, she journeys back to Naples to discover the truth and confront her childhood memories that shaped the family history.