Flicks & Folios

Film Review: Italian For Beginners

The first time I saw this title mentioned on Shaw’s pay per view film list, the hubby and I had recently booked our cruise (see last week’s article). I was really interested in boning up on my Italian for the trip but I didn’t want to add any extra bills on to our already hefty outgoing funds.

I was really curious about the film, so I sat through the dreadful camera work and the overly crisp film image it was produced in! I’m glad I waited for it to come to “free” TV. Then again, I’m glad I saw it.

I’m sorry – there isn’t one recognized Hollywood name in the film. The stars are Anders W. Berthelsen, Anette Stovelbaek, Peter Gantzler, Ann Eleonora Jorgensen. I’d really like to tell you who played whom but the credits were hand written on lovely paper and plopped down in front of the camera! Many times the entire card wasn’t visible! Sigh … creative idea for credits but very hard to follow!

Now in Denmark these people may be household names but considering the look of the film and the apparent budget I’d have to guess that’s a long shot.

The production is completely subtitled “? usually I groan and turn those films off as it’s a real hassle to read at a rapid rate to keep up with the story … but as I said I was curious.

In this film, characters drop in at a quick rate. The story moves along briskly, and occasionally the camera work actually looks like the handheld is used as a way to put us into these stressed out people’s lives.

Death keeps weaving its way into the plot but that’s to keep the temporary pastor in our film!

Drug addicts, alcoholics, people who can’t hold a job, two women who don’t know they’re sisters, and the deaths of mom, dad, and a favourite teacher! Jeepers! We’ve got a real soap opera – pardon me! -daytime serial on our hands! You’d think it would be downright depressing – but something makes us keep laughing. As a half-serious student of Italian myself I laughed to the point of hiccups at most of the Italian lesson scenes! They have lovely homonyms and mispronunciations thrown in to show the usual klutzy moves with a beginner to a language.

There are a few problems if you aren’t familiar with Italian or Danish. The languages are gunned out and the sound on the film is not top of the line so it could be difficult to understand if there are any distractions.

I’m really not trying to talk you out of looking over the film – it has some lovely touches here and there. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough touches to save the film and make it one to really recommend. I watched it because of the content applying to my interests.

At least you get to look at the Danish flag a couple of times! Knowing what it looks like could be great for impressing your friends … ummmmmmmmm.

I’d like to say that there are many points of serious interest in this film, but even the shots of Venice, Italy are boring.

Watch this film if you’re learning Danish or Italian or if you’re interested in boning up on how to read quicker.

Laura Seymour first published herself, at age 8. She has since gone on to publish a cookbook for the medical condition Candida. She is working toward her B.A. (Psyc).

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