L’Isola del Cinema, a must if you are in Rome this summer

by Marianne Wi

I love Rome, actually I love everything about Rome except the graffiti, most of all I love its cinemas, there are your big old buildings converted into Multiplexes with smaller screening rooms, there is a superb free cinema  Casa del Cinema in Villa Borghese, although sadly they will have to start charging from 1st July 2011, as all cinemas ticket will attract 1 Euro in Tax from then onwards, then you have the smallest cinema in the world Cinema Dei Piccoli also in Villa Borghese showing children films and cartoons during the day followed by more adult material in the evening, already spoilt for choise, I think you are with me so far. Summer is here and so is L’Isola del Cinema found on L’Isola Tiberina, the most wonderful venue for an openair Cinema, there is no drive in you will need to cross an ancient bridge to get to it, worth going just for the brilliant atmosphere and gorgeous surroundings alone, grab a Melon Granita at the mobile bar by the bridge before the show, so your Italian is not red hot? OK, you can always catch a glimpse from the surrounding streets Lungo Tevere if you are out for a small romantic stole or doing an evening run. The first screening will be on the 16th June and will continue untill the 4th of September 2011, the programme is exciting with film both current and retro, the programme will be available from  L’isola del Cinemas here.

There are no dress code however as you know the Italians like to ” Fare la Bella Figura” so make a little effort if you can and a word to the wise, leave the newly bought ode de perfume at the hotel, just bring a good mosquito spray instead, once you have settled in you will be seduced by the odour ” OFF'” or “CITRONELLA” and find it rather welcoming and very soothing once the Tigers starts hitting on you.


Italian Cinema is playing for deaf ears.

by Marianne Wi

“Notizie degli scavi” , ” News of the Excavations” (Possible English Title) directed by Emidio Greco, due to be released on Friday the 29th of April, is making weaves. It will first be shown on on the 28th online with 500 virtual seats made available, a fact that makes me frankly want to sing an ode to the good people of freebies.

Now online cinema in Italy has gone that little bit further and will on the 29th April, the same day the film is released nationwide, also show it online for the deaf and hard of hearing. You will need to sign up with to watch the film for free. The agreement was made between the distribution company Movimento Films and Ente Nazionale Sordi , it will only be available on the night, I really hope this is only the beginning of many films to be shown. Good on them is all I have to say, a big step forward in a country where all foreign films is dubbed, leaving the deaf and hard of hearing with little choise at the Cinema.

Online Italian Films and they are legal


Online Italian Films and it’s legal

by Marianne Wi

I always get a little bit over excited, when finding films online that are free and legal, not for me the pirated stuff, something to be very proud of when you live in Italy where Music and Film DVD’s are sold openly from market stalls, even before the films  have hit the local Cinemas…

While allowing my beady eye to stray from the safety of Google search, I came across this online TV channel  currently showing numerous films directed by Mario Monicelli they are :

We hope it is female – Speriamo che sia femmina 1986,

Il male oscuro – A Man’s Blessing 1964,

Parenti serpenti – Dearest Relatives, Poisonous Relations  1992 ,

Panni sporchi – Dirty Linen 1999 ,

Facciamo paradiso – Looking for Paradise 1995,

I Picari 1988,

A great list I think you will agree, the first 15 to 18 minutes are free in form of a trailer before seeing the full film and parting with  EURO 2.99  per film, that is frankly on the expensive side and very much what I expect from Mediaset ( I wonder if there is a connection) the latter has been charging you to watch their repeats for years. I have a great personal fondness for RAI, surely one of the leading Channels when it comes to showing mainstream TV online, who will allow you access to many of the films, history, documentaries, music and news programmers once shown on terrestrial TV, even when OUT of Italy all for Free, yes Gratis chaps even when not in Italy, I so wish the BBC would follow their lead.

The address of this channel showing Mario Monicelli films is once online and on their site you will need to search for Mario Monicelli or clemitalia  (Click on the film or preview you want to see and remember to click on the green arrow too, staring wistfully at it will not do).

You can at the moment only pay by PayPal, easy enough to set up an account  if you do not have one and I understand that plans are in progress to make payment by SMS via your mobile.

Now here is the sad bit, you need to understand a reasonable amount of  Italian as there are no subtitles neither English or French , I know I was upset for you, these films have already been subtitled as Monicelli’s films have been shown abroad , so please slap some subtitles on for us , from a commercial point of view,  foreigners are more like to actually pay nearly 3 EUROs to see an Italian foreign language films, as we are not used to dubbing. In the  UK for example a DVD can set you back 15 to 20 GBP  for just one DVD so would become very popular both as a teaching tool and for recreational purposes everywhere …… good free advise, I think.

There are a number of other Italian channels on the site including sport and news so go and have a look, some programmes are free too. I also understand that clemItalian will show other films both new and old from their archives  sadly not for free, still a lot cheaper that actually renting or purchasing the DVD.

06/01/2011 free movies (online)

by Marianne Wi

If like me you are always looking to cut the cost of going to the cinema and you happen to be  in Italy or have a proxy installed on your computer, do keep a beady eye on  . You will need to register and have the patience of a saint  booking your ticket as this is time driven, if you log on and the clock show 2 hours 4 minutes and 30 seconds , you will need to come back closer to that time ( I know but the film is free and often not yet released in Italy, so get over it)   click  frantically on the spot indicated as the clock reaches 0 hours 0 minutes and 0 seconds, after which you will be allowed to book your place. Once you have done this a few times you will be sent an invite , much easier. Remember to cancel your ticket if you are actually not going to watch it.

I have seen a number of films , they are usually shown a few days before the nationwide released date, as I live in Sicily some of the smaller Independent movies are not reaching us so I am very pleased to have this chance to watch a good quality film from my bed with the odd glass of  Inzolia.

An evening with is usually flowing as :

Book you ticket, as soon as possible, you need to keep an eye on their site, there is not much warning. Once they confirm you seat you enter the virtual cinema and find yourself a place,which you will book, you can see who you are sitting next to, quite often the same charming individuals will appear ( I choose to believe that)

20.30 Virtual red carpet, you can see a mini you and are allowed to make comments that will appear in a bubble some  minutes later.

21.00 You enter the cinema and take your seat…. You can still make comments and say hello to be people next to you, I did last time and to my horror because of some technical mishap, it was repeated up to 20 times and I was reprimanded  in the chat room after wards by Frederico …..I only pressed the button once….honest guv.

21.15 There are trailers , sometimes shorts , various clips to see and you can still comment.

21.30 We are off, now you can choose , to stop seeing the comments being made throughout the film, you can change to full screen, it is all up to you or move back and forth.

After the film you will be able to enter the chat-room manned by the Director or an actor from the film. This does not work well, as each showing has 500 participants, if only 10 %   (50 people) begin to ask questions at the same time you can only imagine the chaos , obviously the chat is all in Italian , if you are studying Italian, this is a great place to go and participate or just watch the banter flow .


Casa del Cinema (Rome)

by Marianne Wi

A beautiful setting for this shining star among “Free” cinemas, yes gratis, hard to believe in 2010, where prices in the UK are hitting 12 to 15 pounds for just one ticket. Casa del Cinema is found in Villa Borghese at the Via Veneto entrance , a delightful building dating back to 1833 with a colourful past. It was restored in 2001 and has for the past 5 years been show-casing many foreign film festivals and is often the only place in Italy, where you will find the old black and white movies screened.

I first visited this germ back in 2005 during the first Roman Film Festival , where for a period of 2 weeks all Marcello Mastroianni’s film and documentaries with this much-loved actor was shown for free, all you had to do was stand in line before each show. I was there an hour before hand expecting hundreds of people to show up…… NO I was on my tot untill 10 minutes before it was to start. There are 3 screening rooms seating 126 ,64 and a small 35 seater, the seating is very comfortable and it is a super place to spend a few hours relaxing . During the hot summer months there are open air screenings, again free of charge  and the best part ( nearly) is the DVD  library from which you can choose a film for your very own private screening. Recently there have been complaints about the lack of Independent films makers being able to show their work, I hope that will be rectified soon. There is a lovely Cinecafe with friendly staff and good house wine ,again both in and outdoor service. The shop with all things cinema is worth a visit ,many books and DVDs are on sale here together with posters, cards and cinema trinkets.

I always enjoy Casa del Cinema such a free luxury.

Do not miss the little green wooden cinema a stones throw away ( no, I am not advocating stone throwing , that would be fawned upon) Cinema dei Piccoli it is a delightful children’s cinema by day and a cool adult cinema by night. With only 63 seats it is in the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest cinema in the world. See my separate blog entry.


Cinema Dei Piccoli (Rome)

by Marianne Wi

I love this cinema and if in Rome do not miss this tiny germ in Largo Marcello Mastroianni, Villa Borghese by the Via Veneto entrance.It dates back to 1934 and is build entirely of wood, it has always been used as a cinema for children except for a brief period during the 2nd world war. The Guiness Book of Record has it recorded as the smallest cinema in the world, with only 63 seats, it is worth looking at just from that aspect alone. Was originally named Cinema Topolino ,predominately showing children comics and animations. Cinema dei Piccoli today has programmes showing from 10.30 in the morning until late afternoon followed by a more adult theme until midnight (with Adult movies I do of course not mean porn…., that would be so very wrong  in so many ways) it boast a small snack bar , run by the box office and projectionist a real one-man band.

You will also be only meters away from Casa del Cinema another  Roman germ, see separate blog, there you will also find a cinema shop and a lovely Restaurant/Bar for your pre and after show drinks, actually it is a great place to rest if you are walking around the beautiful Villa Borghese.

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