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ITALIAN FOR BEGINNERS
aka ITALIENSK FOR BEGYNDERE
USA: Miramax Films
Cast: Anders W Berthelsen, Ann Eleonora Jørgensen, Anette Støvelbęk, Peter Gantzler, Lars Kaalund, Sara Indrio Jensen, Elsebeth Steentoft, Rikke Wölck, Karen-Lise Mynster, Bent Mejding, Lene Tiemroth, Jesper Christensenl Claus Gerving, Carlo Barsotti, Alex Nyborg Madsen, Steen Svare, Susanne Oldenburg
Director: Lone Scherfig
Language: Danish (English subtitles)
USA & UK: 112 mins
USA Rated: R for language and some sexuality
UK Certificate: 15 contains infrequent strong language
USA Release Date: 18 January 2002 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 26 April 2002
Directed by Lone Scherfig, ITALIAN FOR BEGINNERS is one of a series of films created under the rules of 'Dogme', a film movement started in Copenhagen in 1995 whose purpose was to create an alternative to Hollywood big-budget movies. The rules and techniques used to make this style of film include hand-held cameras, script improvisation plus natural lighting, sound and sets.
ITALIAN FOR BEGINNERS is a story that follows the lives of six lonely Danish people whose paths intertwine by learning to speak Italian.
First, meet newly ordained priest Andreas (Anders Berthelsen, Mifune, The Weight of Water), still coping with the recent death of his wife. Forced to live temporarily in a hotel, he befriends the manager Jorgen Mortensen (Peter Gantzler, No Man's Land). Jorgen is a lonely middle-aged man whose boss wants him to fire his friend Hal-Finn (Lars Kaalund, The One and Only), the owner of the hotel bar.
Hal-Finn works with Guilia (Sara Indrio Jensen), a young Italian woman that Jorgen has a crush on. Unbeknownst to Jorgen, she wants to return his affections. Meanwhile, Andreas meets Olympia (Anette Stovelback, On Our Own), a clumsy baker dealing with an overbearing father, who wants her to stay at home. And finally, there's Karen (Ann Eleonora Jorgensen, On Our Own), the local hairdresser who is struggling to deal with her sick mother.
Just when it seems things cannot get any worse, each seek fulfilment in the local Italian class and it becomes the impetus for all of them to turn their lives around. A field trip to Venice at the end of term illustrates the different reasons why the class has come to mean so much and in this most romantic of cities love blossoms in a variety of ways.
ITALIAN FOR BEGINNERS is a moving and truly poignant slice-of-life film that will warm your heart and leave you feeling bourno! It won the Silver Berlin Bear at the Berlin Film Festival 2001, and the Audience Award at both the Paris Film Festival and Warsaw International Film Festival in 2001.
Feature Running Time: 107 minutes
Original Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 (4 x 3)
Sound Quality: 2.0 Surround
Special Features: Theatrical Trailer