Life can often feel stressful and overwhelming. Between work obligations, family responsibilities, financial pressures, and more, it’s easy to become burnt out. While there are many healthy ways to relieve stress – exercise, meditation, connecting with loved ones, etc. – one enjoyable approach is through immersing yourself in a good movie. Italian cinema offers a variety of films that can provide a mental escape and momentarily transport you away from your worries. Here are some great Italian movies to help you de-stress.
Perhaps one of the most beloved and well-known Italian films is Cinema Paradiso, released in 1988. This drama tells the story of a famous film director Salvatore who returns to his home village in Sicily after receiving news that his childhood friend and cinema projectionist Alfredo has passed away. As Salvatore reconnects with the community and reflects on his boyhood, the film takes you back to his youth where he developed a love for movies through his friendship with Alfredo at the local theater. Nostalgic and heartwarming, Cinema Paradiso is like a warm cinematic hug – perfect for melting your stresses away.
For a more lighthearted option, the 1961 comedy Divorce Italian Style offers plenty of laughs. The film stars Marcello Mastroianni as a bored Sicilian nobleman named Ferdinando who tries to finally escape his dull marriage through hatching plots to trigger his legal right to divorce. His schemes grow increasingly absurd and hilarious. With quick-witted dialogue and mastery of comedic timing, Divorce Italian Style provides comic relief from the tensions of everyday life.
Seeking a mood boost? Look no further than the timeless 1953 classic Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. A young Princess Ann escapes her royal duties for a day of adventure and exploration in Rome. She crosses paths with an American reporter who shows her the beauty of Rome while falling in love along the way. Roman Holiday exudes charm and romance – sure to make your heart feel lighter.
For many, few things are more relaxing than a captivating mystery. The 1970 giallo film The Bird with the Crystal Plumage directed by Dario Argento fits the bill. An American writer witnesses a murder attempt in an art gallery and becomes entangled in the serial killer investigation by police as he tries to identify the culprit. With its stylish visuals and an intriguing whodunit storyline, this suspenseful thriller is an engrossing distraction from your daily stressors.
Sometimes you just need a good cry. In that case, turn to the emotional drama Life Is Beautiful, a multi-award winning film from 1997. A Jewish-Italian father uses his imagination and humor to shield his young son from the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp after they are taken there during World War II. Poignant and devastating yet with an underlying message of hope, this masterpiece will move you deeply, letting you release any pent up tension.
While lighthearted comedies can provide stress relief with laughter, somber dramas can also offer catharsis through emotion. Umberto D. from 1952 focuses on an elderly man and his dog as they struggle with poverty and loneliness on the streets of Rome, serving as a depressing yet thoughtful critique of post-war Italian society. Releasing sadness through empathy and introspection can be surprisingly uplifting.
Italian cinema is filled with films that can sweep you away from whatever is causing you anxiety or unease, if only for a little while. Though the plots, tones, and genres vary widely, they all have the power to absorb your attention completely, providing a mental break. So next time you feel the need for stress relief, consider escaping into an Italian movie world – your mind will thank you.