Learn Italian with Paolo Sorrentino’s Movies

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I. Why Should You Watch Italian Movies to Learn Italian?

Learning Italian through Italian culture and movies has numerous benefits. Firstly, it allows you to immerse yourself in the language and become familiar with the nuances of the Italian language, including accents and colloquialisms.

Secondly, by learning through movies and culture, you get a better understanding of the context in which the language is used, making it easier to remember and use in real-life situations.

Moreover, learning through culture allows learners to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of Italian history, customs, and traditions.

Instead of just memorizing grammar rules and vocabulary, with movies you get to experience Italian art, music, and cinema, creating a more holistic and enjoyable learning experience.

That’s why we reveal a well-known Italian film director, considered to be one of the best film directors in the world, Paolo Sorrentino.

II. Benefits of Learning Italian through Movies

Learning Italian through Italian movies can offer several benefits:

  • Exposure to authentic language

Italian movies provide a great opportunity to listen to the natural flow of spoken Italian by native speakers, including colloquial phrases and idioms that are not commonly found in textbooks.

Italian movies offer a glimpse into Italian culture, allowing learners to understand the nuances of Italian society, including customs, traditions, and ways of life.

  • Improved listening skills

Watching Italian movies can help learners to develop their listening skills, enabling them to understand Italian at a natural pace and become more confident in their comprehension abilities.

Italian movies often feature a wide range of vocabulary, including words and expressions that may not be found in language textbooks, providing learners with an opportunity to learn new vocabulary in context.

  • Enhanced understanding of grammar

Italian movies provide learners with examples of how Italian grammar is used in context, helping to solidify their understanding of the language’s syntax and structure.

  • Enjoyable learning experience

Learning Italian through movies can be a fun and enjoyable way to learn, allowing learners to engage with Italian culture while also making progress in their language-learning journey.

Discover more tips on how to learn Italian through movies.

III. Who is Paolo Sorrentino?

paolo sorentino learn italian

Paolo Sorrentino (1970) is an Italian film director, screenwriter, and writer. After leaving his economics studies, he devoted himself to film and began his career as a director with the short film “Paradise” (1994). He is known for his visually stunning and emotionally charged films, which often explore the themes of human nature, spirituality, and the search for meaning in life.

Sorrentino’s interest in film began at a young age, and he started making short films while studying law at the University of Naples.

He later moved to Rome to pursue a career in filmmaking, and his breakthrough came with the release of his film “One Man Up” in 2001, which won several awards at film festivals around the world.

Sorrentino’s most famous films include “The Great Beauty” (2013), which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and “Youth” (2015), which starred Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel.

His films are known for their poetic and philosophical qualities, and Sorrentino has been praised for his ability to capture the essence of life in his work.

Sorrentino is a deeply philosophical thinker, and his films often explore the themes of existence, mortality, and spirituality. He has spoken about the importance of art in helping people make sense of the world around them, saying,

“Art is a way of understanding the world, of creating order out of chaos.”

This quote reflects his belief that film has the power to illuminate the most profound truths about the human condition, even in moments of silence or emptiness.

The film “Great Beauty” won the “Oscar” for best foreign film, the “Golden Globe” award, “Bafta” and other awards. In 2010, the publishing house Feltrinelli published Sorrentino’s novel “Hanno tutti ragione” (Everyone is Right), which quickly became a literary phenomenon in Italy.

Two years later, he published the story collection “Toni Pagoda e i suoi amici” (Toni Pagoda and his friends), followed by “La grande bellezza”, Diario del film (The Great Beauty, Film Diary, 2013) and “Gli aspetti irrelevanti” (Irrelevant points of view, 2016).

One of Sorrentino’s most famous quotes is:

“Cinema is the art of showing nothingness in a way that makes sense.”

IV. About Sorrentino’s Movies

La Grande Belezza (2013)

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“La Grande Bellezza” is more than just a movie, it’s a profound reflection on life, beauty, and the human condition. Director Paolo Sorrentino uses Rome as a backdrop to explore the themes of aging, regret, and the search for meaning in life.

Jep Gambardella’s character is a metaphor for the fleeting nature of life and the fleetingness of beauty. Through his experiences and encounters with the city’s eclectic residents, Jep comes to realize the transitory nature of worldly pleasures and the importance of finding true purpose and meaning in life.

Sorrentino’s stunning visuals and poetic storytelling create a mesmerizing film that invites the viewer to contemplate the deeper questions of existence. “La Grande Bellezza” is a masterpiece that will leave you questioning the true essence of beauty and the meaning of life itself.

New Pope (2019)

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“The New Pope” is a gripping television series that centers around the inner workings of the Vatican and the power struggles between the clergy. The series features an all-star cast, including Jude Law and John Malkovich, who deliver powerful performances that add to the show’s intrigue and drama.

However, beyond the entertaining plot twists and stunning visuals, “New Pope” offers a deeper philosophical angle. It raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of power, faith, and morality. The show explores the dark side of human nature and the corrupting influence of power on those who possess it.

It also delves into the complexities of faith and religion, challenging viewers to question their beliefs and consider the role of the church in the modern world.

Overall, “New Pope” is a brilliant work of art that offers both entertainment and philosophical reflection, making it a must-watch for anyone interested in thought-provoking television.

Il Divo (2008)

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The film about the politician Giulio Andreotti, “Il Divo” brought Sorrento the prize of the jury of the Cannes festival, after which he directed another movie on another political figure – Silvio Berlusconi’s “Loro”. Asked if his films are always political, he replies:

“I don’t know much about politics. I make films about politicians, and that’s something else.”

What I’m interested in is the humanity behind these characters. You have to make films about characters you like.” like them. I like my characters, even the most unpleasant ones. I made two films about political characters – actually, you could say three, because the pope is a political character too,” he said.

“I’m first and foremost an observer – that’s what I like to do – but at some point you have to switch from observation to narration. I start telling a story when reality becomes too chaotic. For me, telling a story is about restoring order. It’s the importance of cinematography: bringing order to a disordered reality,” said the director.

The Hand of God

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“The Hand of God” is a 2021 Italian drama film that tells the story of Fabietto Schisa, a teenager growing up in Naples in the 1980s. Fabietto dreams of becoming a professional football player, but his aspirations are constantly hindered by his working-class background and the harsh realities of life in Naples.

The film explores themes of fate, family, and the meaning of life. Through Fabietto’s experiences, Sorrentino asks fundamental questions about the nature of existence and the role of chance in shaping our lives.

The title of the movie, “The Hand of God,” refers to a famous moment in football history when Diego Maradona scored a goal using his hand during the 1986 World Cup, an event that becomes a symbol of Fabietto’s own struggles and aspirations.

Discover more of Sorrentino’s Movies here.

V. Tips to Learn Italian through Movies

Movies not only provide you with real-life situations and context but also allow you to hear the real Italian most Italians really speak. Not the one from the textbooks. At first, going from classic learning to watching movies, can feel overwhelming. You may feel that your Italian is not even near the level you are supposed to be.

But, don’t worry. It’s a common feeling, every learner experiences at first and don’t let this emotion stand in your way. There’s a thing called passive listening that’s also beneficial to your Italian learning.

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Here are some tips to help you make the most of your movie-watching experience:

  • Start with movies that have English subtitles

This will help you follow the story while also seeing how Italian is spoken.

  • Watch movies with Italian audio and Italian subtitles

Once you are comfortable with English subtitles, try watching movies with Italian audio and Italian subtitles. This will help you improve your listening and reading skills at the same time.

  • Repeat the lines

After watching a scene, pause the movie and try repeating the lines out loud. This will help you practice your pronunciation and get used to the rhythm of the language.

  • Focus on vocabulary

Keep a notebook handy and jot down new words and phrases as you hear them. Look up their meanings and try using them in your own sentences.

  • Watch movies multiple times

It’s a good idea to watch movies multiple times to get the most out of them. You’ll pick up new things each time you watch, and you’ll reinforce what you’ve already learned.

If you want to

VI. Ready to Improve Your Italian

Don’t deprive yourself of following some of your interests, just because your Italian is not advanced enough. It’s scientifically proven, that your motivation to language learning tends to rise if you read about what naturally interests you.

Moreover, Sorrentino’s films and books are renowned for their philosophical depth, making them a valuable resource for learners who are interested in exploring complex themes and ideas in Italian.

If you’re looking for a fun and effective way to learn Italian, then watching Paolo Sorrentino’s movies should be at the top of your list! Grab a bowl of popcorn and settle in for a night of Italian cinema, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly your language skills improve.

If you are interested in improving your Italian so you could better understand Italian movies, try out Ripeti Con Me.

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FAQs on Learn Italian with Paolo Sorrentino’s Movies


Nikolija has been an avid language learner for many years. Apart from being a language teacher and content writer, she's also an illustrator and enjoys finding creative ways to learn languages. Her guilty pleasures are reading books and coffee.

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One Response

  1. I love Paolo Sorrentino’s movies! Learning Italian through his films sounds like a fun and immersive way to improve my language skills. Grazie for the recommendation!

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