Italian for Beginners

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Italian for Beginners ★★½ Italiensk for Begyndere 2001 (R)

Director Scherfig is the first woman to use the strict Dogma 95 filmmaking rules (handheld cameras, natural light, live music, no studios scenes, no costumes, and no special effects) of her Danish colleagues. She's also the first to try to do a romantic comedy in the Dogma style, and she pulls it off nicely. Her tale brings together six quirky lonely-hearts: Andreas (Berthlesen), newly widowed minister; Hall-Finn (Kaalund), a soccerobsessed restaurant manager; his best friend Jorgen (Gantzler), who's convinced he's impotent; Olympia (Stovelbaek), who likes Andreas and cares for her abusive, ill father; Karen (Jorgensen) who cuts Hal-Finn's hair and cares for her alcoholic shrew of a mother; and Giulia (Jensen), an Italian waitress with a crush on Jorgen, in a Conversational Italian class. The seemingly lightweight plot is anchored by insight into everyday misery and hurt amid the giddy matchmaking and likeable characters. 112m/C VHS, DVD . DK Anders W. Berthelsen, Peter Gantzler, Anette Stovelbaek, Ann Eleonora Jorgensen, Lars Kaalund, Sara Indrio Jensen; D: Lone Scherfig; W: Lone Scherfig; C: Jorgen Johansson.