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Inghams Italy Advent- 8 dicembre

Mon Dec 2014

Blogmas 8


Italian Christmas movies

Christmas movies are a well-loved festive tradition in western countries. They put us in a joyful mood, cheer us up and they convince us that during this time of the year (almost) anything is possible. Italy does not make an exception and American classics like ‘Home Alone’ or ‘Miracle on 34th street’ are transmitted by Italian TV channels every single year. Animated Christmas movies are also hugely popular among both kids and adults.

Italy, however, has also developed a very original Christmas movie genre commonly called ‘Cinepanettone’. It is a very peculiar kind of comedy, which combines grotesque and trashy elements. The first movie of this kind was Vacanze di Natale (Christmas holidays), which came out in 1983. Since then, the genre saw an ever growing popularity. Every year a Cinepanettone movie used to come out, with the couple Christian De Sica and Massimo Boldi as leading actors. In recent years, their popularity has faded a little and Boldi and De Sica have started making separate movies during the festive period. These films normally lack a real plot and are based on comic gags with explicit sexual references. There is always at least one attractive young girl, with whom one of the protagonists, usually married, is trying to have an affair. Every year the location of the holiday is different: Egypt, the Alps, Miami, India.. And every year cinema critics underline the poor quality of these Italian productions.

Cinepanettone movies are certainly not award-worthy, however, the Italian public has loved them for decades. The Cinepanettone at Christmas time is in fact a tradition for millions of Italians. Queues in front of packed cinemas to see these Italian productions beat even those for international movie hits during the Christmas period! It may lack artistic value and good taste, but it cannot be denied that the Cinepanettone is one of the manifestations of Italian popular culture and of local festive habits.