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Italy has produced many important cinematography auteurs, including Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, Ettore Scola, Sergio Leone, Dario Argento, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Franco Zeffirelli. These directors' works often span many decades and genres. Present auteurs include Giuseppe Tornatore, Marco Bellocchio, Nanni Moretti, Gabriele Salvatores, Gianni Amelio and Paolo Sorrentino.

Spaghetti WesternEdit

On the heels of the Sword and Sandal craze, a related genre, the Spaghetti Western arose and was popular both in Italy and elsewhere. These films differed from traditional westerns by being filmed in Europe on limited budgets, but featured vivid cinematography.

The most popular Spaghetti Westerns were those of Sergio Leone, whose Dollars Trilogy (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly), featuring Clint Eastwood and scores by Ennio Morricone, came to define the genre along with Once Upon a Time in the West.

Also considered Spaghetti Westerns is a film genre which combined traditional western ambiance with a Commedia all'italiana-type comedy; films including They Call Me Trinity and Trinity Is STILL My Name!, which featured Bud Spencer and Terence Hill, the stage names of Carlo Pedersoli and Mario Girotti.

The history of Italian cinema began just a few months after the Lumière brothers had patented their Cinematographe, when Pope Leo XIII was filmed for a few seconds in the act of blessing the camera.

Spaghetti WesternEdit

On the heels of the Sword and Sandal craze, a related genre, the Spaghetti Western arose and was popular both in Italy and elsewhere. These films differed from traditional westerns by being filmed in Europe on limited budgets, but featured vivid cinematography.

The most popular Spaghetti Westerns were those of Sergio Leone, whose Dollars Trilogy (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly), featuring Clint Eastwood and scores by Ennio Morricone, came to define the genre along with Once Upon a Time in the West.

Modern CinemaEdit

A new generation of directors has helped return Italian cinema to a healthy level since the end of the 1980s. Probably the most noted film of the period is Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, for which Giuseppe Tornatore won a 1990 Oscar for Best Foreign Film. This award was followed in 1992, when Gabriele Salvatores's Mediterraneo won the same prize. Another exploit was in 1998 when Roberto Benigni won three oscars for his movie Life Is Beautiful (La vita è bella) (Best Actor, Best Foreign Film, Best Music). In 2001 Nanni Moretti's film The Son's Room (La stanza del figlio) received the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Other noteworthy recent Italian films include: Jona che visse nella balena directed by Roberto Faenza, Il grande cocomero by Francesca Archibugi, Il mestiere delle armi by Olmi, L'ora di religione by Marco Bellocchio, Il ladro di bambini, Lamerica, Le chiavi di casa by Gianni Amelio, Io non ho paura by Gabriele Salvatores, Le fate ignoranti, La finestra di fronte by Ferzan Özpetek, La bestia nel cuore by Cristina Comencini.

In 2007 American director Quentin Tarantino said "New Italian cinema is just depressing. Recent films I've seen are all the same. They talk about boys growing up, or girls growing up, or couples having a crisis, or vacations of the mentally impaired." He received criticism from the Italian media and actress Sophia Loren who said "How dare he talk about Italian cinema when he doesn't know anything about American cinema?"

In 2008 Paolo Sorrentino's Il Divo, a biographical film based on the life of Giulio Andreotti, won the Jury prize and Gomorra, a crime drama film, directed by Matteo Garrone won the Gran Prix at the Cannes Film Festival.

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