Bergamo, Italy. Jersey’s Hometown.
I think that everyone who reads this blog knows the feeling: a new movie you want to see so badly is coming out. Let’s say that it is going to be released in three months. So you start counting down the days, filling the spare time with teasers, trailers, sneak peeks, interviews, etc. Now, picture this: the day has finally come. The entire world can enjoy the movie you’ve been waiting and craving for. Well, actually everyone can, except you… Because your country hasn’t bought it yet, or because it takes another couple of months to dub it (in Italy all foreign movies are dubbed). So teasers, trailers, sneak peeks and whatever, turn into reviews, debates, damn spoilers… This is how life feels like when you’re fond of American movies but you live in Italy.
I have to be honest: it wasn’t that bad until a few years ago. I grew up without internet – I’m not that old, but still I got to see a netless world – so I used to keep myself updated about upcoming films reading Italian magazines. Needless to say, most of the articles in there were only about Italian releases. So I just didn’t worry or get anxious about it. But then the Internet Era came along and, long story short: the entire world became United States of Social Networks and I couldn’t ignore original releases anymore. It was Lost time, which Italian television started to air in 2007, so one year after the American premiere. At the time, needless to say, the Net was already going crazy about it. I saw the first two season on TV, that I just got really, really frustrated. Everyone got to know what was in the hatch before me, everybody got to know the Others before me… That was time for a change. So God bless streaming and uTorrent, which solved all of my problems. From that moment on, I never turned on TV again. Oh, by the way, you gotta know that in Italy there are lots of voluntary people who subtitles episodes and put it online. They are truly heroes and sometime they are so good that they succeed in getting a real job as translators and “subtitlers” (I don’t know if this is the correct word, hope you understand what I’m saying anyway) for DVDs, festivals, etc. Oh, by the way/2: Hulu, and Netflix do not work outside the States.
Now, let’s get to the movies and their Italian distribution. The thing is, release windows here are very different from the American ones. The main problem is summer: in the US summer is the best season for blockbusters. In Italy, if you’re not Harry Potter, Batman or Edward Cullen(I’m talking about event-movies), you have no chance to survive summer. So if Cowboys and Alien comes out in July almost all over the world, in Italy you have to wait ’till October 14th, because nobody goes to the movies in summertime. That’s a (crappy) socially acknowledged rule. So, absolutely nothing to see for 3 - 4 very long months, but in the end you get two exceptionally crowded windows: Christmas time, followed by late January early February, when you finally get to see the Oscar nominated movies. Get organized guys, ’cause you have the chance to catch up at least ten great movies in just four weeks.
On a side note, Venice Film Festival: winners usually get an early release. Usually, not every time. But if you go there, you can get to see advanced screening… Like I did with The Hurt Locker and The Road, presented at the Festival two and one year before worldwide release.
If you really want to see a film, it’s not so hard to find it on the net one week after the official release. But personally, I have a thing for theaters: sitting there in the dark with your pop-corns and getting your ears smashed by THX or Dolby, does not feel the same as laying on you bed with your too small laptop on your belly, watching a very crappy copy of the film. Yeah, that’s my problem: I grew up in movie theaters, where I’ve been going at least once a week for all my life, even alone. So, at some point, I just dealt with it and kept on waiting for damn Italian releases.
The real problem came last year, when I won a fellowship and got accepted for two semesters at UC Berkeley. I moved to the States. It was film-heaven. Not only I could see films without waiting additional months, I could also see seasons of old films, like American Graffiti, Jaws, Jurassic Park…. As I said, heaven. One year later I came back to reality. I mean, to Italy. And I couldn’t just deal with it anymore! Besides watching films without waiting, for one year I had listened to the actor’s original voices. Now, dubbed film just don’t feel right anymore. Before living a year in the States, I used to watch film in english thanks to DVDs. But that were special occasions. Now I just wanna do it in theaters too and I can’t. So what’s a film addicted to do? Nothing, just deal with it once more, giving up to dubbed films or downloaded copies every once in a while.
So, wrapping up: first and only rule of Italian releases… Get organized and deal with it!
Jersey writes for her own blog, Walk Like Heroes. You can visit it by clicking the banner above! Check it out!