ATTENDANCE OPTIONAL. PASSION REQUIRED.
When an Italian language class is scheduled to begin in a Danish hamlet, several attendants gather; friendships blossom along with the occasional romance. Another Dogma film where one has to wonder what point there is to the style; it adds nothing to the film. Nevertheless, you will soon start caring about this bunch of thirtysomethings. They have plenty of everyday problems (demanding parents, the death of a wife, etc.), but the class is their chance to open up and learn a few things about themselves and others. Predictable, but utterly charming; the cast is wonderful and the film gains a lot from everybody’s positive attitude.
2000-Denmark. 99 min. Color. Produced by Ib Tardini. Written and directed by Lone Scherfig. Cast: Anders W. Berthelsen (Andreas), Anette Støvelbaek (Olympia), Peter Gantzler (Jørgen), Ann Eleonora Jørgensen, Lars Kaalund, Sara Indrio Jensen.
Last word: Original title: Italiensk for begyndere. Alternative running time: 112 min.
Berlin: Jury Prize.
Last word: “In ‘Italian for Beginners’ you have five people dying in the first 20 minutes and no one seems to remember that. That film is about sorrow, but everyone remembers it as a romantic comedy.” (Scherfig, Time Out)