• Strictly Films

Italian Studies (2021 Tribeca Film Festival); Grade: C

Strictly Films welcomes you back to more coverage of this years 2021 Tribeca Film Festival! Our next film on the block: Italian Studies.


Italian Studies tells a story about a writer (Vanessa Kirby) whom loses her memory, including her own identity. The writer roams around New York, trying to find some comfort in a world she doesn't know, as soon enough she'll find herself connect to a group of teenagers. Hoping the writer rediscovers herself as well as discovers today's youth.


Italian Studies will be one of the those films that'll likely be heavily divided between critics and audience. I can see people thoroughly enjoying this film but I can also see people honestly hate the living crap out of this film. It's honestly an artsy fartsy film, where it shows a lovely visual display however substance wise you really have to think about what exactly are you watching here.


David Ehrlich top critic from IndieWire may have given the best analysis regarding what one may get out of this film. David felt a strong connection from the lead character and one whom has gone into isolation, that felt relatable to isolation during the early stages of the pandemic. His perspective makes a whole lot of sense, considering the fact when one in isolation, it's hard to even comprehend towards reality as you honestly lose yourself in the process. So I felt David's perspective does make a strong point with regards to what it all meant. Given the film making history of this film, it was shot in 2018 and the following year, it gives David's argument hard to follow through, as it has nothing to do with isolation during the pandemic itself.


Italian Studies substance wise felt like a workout. As I'm watching this film unfold in a rather short run time, I kept thinking of many ways to try to interpret what it was all about. The thing is no matter where your mind takes you within the story, you end up running into a plot hole in which it counters with what kind of theory you're trying to make out of Italian Studies. I'm a fan of films that make you think but this one in particular, I just can't get behind it as I felt this was kind of exhausting to sit through and try to defend and make up ways in what I was watching is actually good.


The experience of it all t'was enjoyable at least, there are some lovely shots within this film, my favorite perhaps is the outside of an everyday hot dog dining place. I enjoyed the composed score, felt all the performances were all splendid as it all felt very natural and real by just about everyone. But the story really becomes the achilles heel for me, it felt very loose and extremely directionless, like it's hard to really follow along with this story because it feels almost as if it's not going anywhere. I will say there are some strong moments of dialogue, but in the end those moments don't progress this story in any way. There is a fair amount to like within Italian Studies for sure, but as a whole it's one of those films I just really can't get on board with, no matter how hard my mind tries, it just keeps on falling back to how it's not entirely clear.


Overall, Italian Studies was just ok. I suggest giving this a watch to see it for yourself, I think everyone will get some kind of different perspective on it, I don't think everyone will have the exact same opinion towards it. -Mitch Smietana

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