5 Italian cinema classics to watch after Master of None — and where to find them
If you’ve finished season 2 of Master of None and have already a) gone down an internet rabbit hole researching trips to Italy; b) eaten all the pasta in your current vicinity; and c) vowed to brush back up on your Italian, here’s another way you can live Dev’s dolce vita — by sitting down with the Italian cinema classics referenced by Aziz Ansari in his Netflix series’ second outing.
From Bicycle Thieves to L’Avventura, here’s a guide to what to watch when you’re finished with Master of None, and where to find them.
The season 2 premiere opens with a shot of DVDs on Dev’s nightstand, and the top one in the stack is our first and most overt homage — Vittorio De Sica’s 1948 film about a poor father searching the streets of Rome for his stolen bicycle, which he needs to keep his job and support his family. Dev’s predicament is not quite as dire — his phone is stolen, and it has a phone number of a girl he wants to see (and a snapshot of his young friend Mario with his favorite soccer player). Ansari also took inspiration from the film’s imagery: Compare the shot from the original movie to he and Mario sitting together at the top of this post.
The second film on Dev’s pile, 1961’s La Notte (“The Night”) centers on an unhappily married couple who, over the course of a night, attend a party together and confront their deteriorating relationship. It’s not a direct plot parallel, but episode 2, titled “Le Nozze” (“The Wedding”) has Dev and his pal Arnold also attending a party — the wedding of Arnold’s ex-girlfriend. Also, both have scenes where characters jump into swimming pools.
Where to watch: Available to stream on FilmStruck, or to rent or buy on Amazon.
La Dolce Vita
Another indirect parallel, but the song “La Dolce Vita” — which was inspired by Federico Fellini’s 1960 film of the same name — features in that same Master of None episode, “Le Nozze.” Still, it’s as good a reason as any to revisit this classic.
Where to watch: Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Series co-creator Alan Yang said he and Ansari watched films from De Sica, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Fellini as inspirations for Master’s season 2, including the latter’s 1963 masterwork 8 1/2 (which was also among the movies in Dev’s DVD stack).”It might sound pretentious, but man, those movies are good. There’s a lot to learn from those movies,” Yang told The Hollywood Reporter. “What do we know about directing that those guys don’t know? Let’s watch these movies and see how they’re made, and pick them apart, and can we attempt to come close to matching the emotional depth or the subtleties or the level of performance, the look of the show.”
Where to watch: Available to stream on FilmStruck, and to rent or buy on Amazon and Vudu.
Antonioni’s L’Avventura (1960) is the first film in a trilogy that’s followed by the aforementioned La Notte (1961) and L’Eclisse (1962). Yang had teased that there’s a nod to L’Eclisse in season 2, but the reference to L’Avventura is much more overt — in the second-to-last episode, Dev and Francesca (Alessandra Mastronardi) watch that film together, and he later talks about loving its leading lady, Monica Vitti. There’s also a dream sequence in which the film’s stars, Vitti and Gabriele Ferzetti, are replaced by Dev and Francesca.
Where to watch: Both L’Avventura and L’Eclisse are available to stream on FilmStruck, and to rent or buy on Amazon. You can also rent or buyL’Avventura via Vudu.
Master of None