I’ve been having fun traveling around Italy with the Favorite Italian Films series. And getting some great new additions to my must see list! This week we’re off on a jaunt that takes us through some of Italy’s top travel destinations with Katie Greenaway from Olio di Olive e Sogni di Vino as she tells us about another one of her favorite Italian movies.
No film has made me relive my childhood like La Meglio Gioventu (The Best of Youth). This was a 6 part miniseries set all over Italy from Rome to Florence to Palermo to Turin. Matteo and Nicola Carati (played by the talented Alessio Boni and Luigi Lo Cascio) are brothers from Rome who have different views on life. From 1960 to 2003, the events that transpire for this family have many similarities to life in general. Matteo is the lost soul. He keeps to himself and in the end never finishes university. Nicola, on the other hand, is determined. He finishes university and plans on making a difference in the psychology world in Italy. Even when his professor tells him to go abroad to find work, he perseveres through the bureaucracy to find what Italy has to offer.
The story begins with Nicola and Matteo planning a road trip with friends to travel all over Europe. Things get sidetracked when Matteo rescues a young girl named Giorgia (Jasmine Trinca) from a mental hospital because she was being mistreated. From there Matteo, Nicola and Giorgia start an impromptu journey on trying to find Giorgia’s parents. They travel through Umbria and Tuscany until they find her father, wh0 ends up not wanting her to stay with him. He believes she belongs in the mental hospital, because according to him, Giorgia is sick. Something that Nicola and Matteo believe is untrue, and, in fact, she is a bright young girl. Nicola and Matteo end up parting ways when the police pick up Giorgia. One ends up joining the military and the other volunteers in Florence during the flood of 1966. Which one does which? There are so many twists and turns in this story that you’ll just have to watch it on a nice rainy afternoon.
This story played with my heart strings. I cried, laughed, worried and was surprised. As this film suggests, it is an example of how one family copes with what life throws at them. Knowing who you can count on is one of the most important things. Key word: Family. You’ll notice how certain friendships are maintained throughout the film. Every time I watch this, not often because it is long, I get teary-eyed. So many emotions take place and are relived over and over again among the characters. Of course there are love stories that take place as well. I suggest watching this mini-series in pieces. But if you are like me, I had to watch all 383 minutes of it in one sitting.
Katie Greenaway is a freelance travel writer and is the Local Expert of Florence for Nile Guide where she also provides the secrets of Florence on her blog. She writes about her life in Florence on her personal blog Olio di Oliva e Sogni di Vino and contributes to MNUI Travel Insurance with travel articles.
I watched this film in my contemporary Italian history class at University. The way it interweaves every major Italian political event between 1960 & 2003 is amazing and it was why Berlusconi BANNED it from airing on RAI. The episodes were stitched together as a film and then won awards at Cannes, even at its enormous run time.
I, too, end up watching it all at once and the next day have to follow it up with something lighter like Pane e Tulipi. 🙂
If you’ve not seen La Meglio Gioventu’….add it to your list!
Ciao Robbin! Very interesting about this film being banned by Berlusconi on RAI. I’ve seen bits and pieces of it, but not the whole film through. It’s definitely on my list! 🙂
Thanks Laura!!! Love love love this movie!! 🙂
Thanks for telling us about this film, Katie! Now I just need a long, rainy afternoon to watch it. 🙂
Cherrye at My Bella Vita says
Well, whaddya know, it is a long rainy day today. Of course, I 1) don’t have 383 minutes to spare (mamma mia!) and 2) don’t have the movie! Still, it sounds fabulous, Katie (and thanks for the extra info, Robbin!) I thought it was interesting that Nicola’s professor tells him to go abroad for work. Just last week there was an article in the NY Times (that was circulating on Facebook) about how so young Italians are going overseas to find work. Sounds like this film does, indeed, follow a typical Italian life.
One more to add to my list. If you guys keep this up, I’ll never get any work done. 😉
Ciao Cherrye! I know… 383 minutes is intense! 🙂 I’ve seen bits and pieces, but didn’t really know anything about the whole film, so this was interesting to me.
Cherrye at My Bella Vita says
Yea, as Katie said, I think you’d definitely need a long rainy weekend to watch this baby (and unlimited refills on microwave popcorn and hot chocolate.) 🙂
If you offer unlimited refills on microwave popcorn and hot chocolate I’ll be in Catanzaro this weekend! 🙂