Lisa’s Top 5 Films of 2016

Italian cinema wasn’t dead, just in a coma.

by Lisa Nieri

Here’re my Top 5 Films of 2016.

1. Nocturnal Animals


You can dig into Nocturnal Animals’ story-within-a-story thanks to the powerful performance by Amy Adams as Susan – character simply reading a book. It’s intense, charming, and rough on many levels. Real life can be as brutal as the fiction in a book just with no need for gore or blood-spill. Written and directed by Tom Ford, based on the novel by Austin Wright.

2. The Neon Demon


Nicolas Winding Refn is a director who never compromises when writing and directing a new movie. The Neon Demon is such a movie, beautiful, charming and violent. Refn can accomplish whatever effect he wants through camera and lighting. The surprise element here is young Elle Fanning who holds her own against other older, accomplished actresses perfectly. Fanning does a great job with Jesse, as her character goes on a journey to fully understand the world that surrounds her and learn that being beautiful can be both a blessing and a curse.

3. In guerra per amore


Italian cinema strikes back after many years of the “same soup”. Pierfrancesco Diliberto’s second movie is the perfect confirmation that Italian cinema wasn’t dead, just in a coma.  A TV documentarian from Palermo, the Mafia is the main theme of his work. In Guerra per Amore tells the story of the American liberation of Italy during War World II and how the Mafia played a major role in it. Sounds like a tough piece of cinema, but Diliberto’s skilled at filming with clarity and humor.

4. La Pazza Gioia (Mad Joy)



Directed by the great filmmaker Paolo Virzi, whose movies are a must-see. He usually tells slice-of-life stories devoid of grandiosity or big ending twists – just normal people and their families confronting real-life problems. In La Pazza Gioia, two women meet at a psychiatric clinic. One is a classy woman who’s also a pathological liar and can never stop talking; the other is a depress girl who’s lost the custody of her child. Together they attempt to escape from the clinic and come to terms with their problems.

5. Perfetti Sconosciuti (Perfect Strangers)


A group of old friends get together for a dinner party during an eclipse – average people bringing in presents and introducing their spouses or children – until they decide to play a game by putting all of their phones on the table and defying each other to read aloud the text messages within. Secrets are unearthed and comedy slowly devolves into drama. Directed by Paolo Genovese.

LisaLisa Nieri / Writer (Lucca, Italy – 1990) Copywriter for Telefilm Central, Lisa studied communication at Università di Firenze. She’s covered local film festivals such as the Venice Biennale and is a massive movie lover and a series addict, always ready to engage in a new adventure with interesting characters. #TeamPijama

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