Posted on Leave a comment

Love Hollywood movies? You might hate these movie ebooks…

It’s been a good while since we did a half-price Italian ‘Ebook of the Week’, but new year, new energy, so here are two!

One of our more neglected ‘easy reader ebook’ categories is the Classic Italian movie series, for which we’ve done eighteen titles, going from WWII era classics, taking in spaghetti westerns that few people actually realise are Italian movies, and including famous Oscar-winners of more recent decades.

Get this straight – we aren’t selling the actual movies. You can find those elsewhere. What we do is get a text written by a real movie expert (an Italian teacher who is also an award-winning scriptwriter), which is then recorded, the idea being to make the movie itself more accessible for learners, while at the same time providing graded reading/listening practice.

One reviewer, Mary, put it very well, years back. She wrote:

“I took a look at the film of “Accattone” and was disappointed to find I understood next to nothing, but the setting, atmosphere and main characters really left a strong impression. Determined to understand more, I downloaded and started reading my EasyReader. It was so helpful. I found that, besides learning some interesting new vocabulary, I was also getting an impression of characters and scenes from the film. I read the story a couple of times and then took another look at the film. I was amazed to find I had a good grasp of what was going on. The EasyReader had made the film much more accessible. It had introduced me to the characters and helped me to understand the plot. I really enjoyed the whole cultural experience; EasyReader, EasyReader with audio, Accattone the film, and finding out about Pasolini.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself. A word of warning, though. Italian cinema over the decades has taken all sorts of non-Hollywood-style twists and turns, which you may not like. Some of the movies in our series are really depressing, or deliberately confusing, or leave fundamental plot lines unresolved, which some people hate!

Take, for instance, one of the most famous Italian movies ever, Fellini’s La dolce vita (it’s NOT half price this week), which was my own first attempt at watching Italian cinema. Not only could I not understand basically anything that was said, at all, but the actual story-telling seemed perversely-twisted, and none of the characters seemed to have conventional movie motivations. What were these people ON? Where was the good guy? Why doesn’t the hero get the girl? I rued the significant sum I’d spent on the VHS tape!

It would have been easier, obviously, if I’d had Mary to advise me, and one of our ‘easy reader ebooks’ to help, but that was two decades before they were conceived of and written. Oh well! Over the last eight or nine years I’ve greatly enjoyed working with Giovanni to put together our Classic Italian Movies series, and learnt a lot about cinema, Italian, and Italians.

Though I’d still not suggest anyone begin with La dolce vita… SO, this week’s half price choices are Il sorpasso (level A2, pre-intermediate) and Accattone (level B1/B2, intermediate/upper-intermediate).

Cover image: Il sorpasso

I must have been busy when I wrote the blurb for this first one in our ebooks store…

Read and listen to the story of one of the most famous masterpieces of Italian cinema, Il sorpasso, directed by Dino Risi.

… which isn’t very helpful, is it? Students of Italian might like to find out more on this Wikipedia page, and/or just download the Free Sample Chapter (.pdf) to see if it grabs them.

Use the sample to check if the level is good for you, click on the online audio link to see how fast/slow the audio is, and so on. You could also read the reviews. I always do.

  • .pdf e-book (+ audio available free online)
  • .mobi (Kindle-compatible) and .epub (other ebook readers) available on request at no extra charge – just add a note to the order form or email us
  • 8 chapters to read and listen to
  • Comprehension questions to check your understanding
  • Italian/English glossary of ‘difficult’ terms for the level
  • Suitable for students at any level
  • Download your Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)

Buy Il sorpasso, just £4.99! | Free sample chapter (.pdf) | Classic Italian Movies series | Catalog

Classic movie ‘ebook of the week’ no. 2 is the much more gritty Accattone, the one Mary was writing about. Not only is it less cheery in tone (to put it mildly) but it’s also harder, in terms of level, so do check the free sample chapter before you consider buying a copy.

Italian easy readers - Accattone - cover image

The blurb is more helpful this time, at least…

Pier Paolo Pasolini was already famous as a writer and poet when he directed his first film, Accattone. Few of the actors were professionals, they were simply kids from Rome’s slums. Each character in the film has a nickname, above all the main character ‘Accattone’ (beggar). Pasolini shows us the world of the underclass and of petty criminals. His images contrast with sacred music by the composer Bach. This re-telling for learners of Italian makes a great introduction before watching the movie itself. Or simply an excellent supplement to your study program!

… but there’s an Italian Wikipedia page for this one, too, the whole movie can be found on Youtube, and of course there are the reviews to check out.

  • .pdf e-book (+ audio available free online)
  • .mobi (Kindle-compatible) and .epub (other ebook readers) available on request at no extra charge – just add a note to the order form or email us
  • 8 chapters to read and listen to
  • Comprehension questions to check your understanding
  • Italian/English glossary of ‘difficult’ terms for the level
  • Suitable for students at B1/B2 level and above
  • Download your Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)

Buy Accattone, just £4.99! | Free sample chapter (.pdf) | Classic Italian Movies series | Catalog

How do I access my ebooks?

When your order is ‘completed’ (normally immediately after your payment), a download link will be automatically emailed to you. It’s valid for 7 days and 3 download attempts so please save a copy of the .pdf ebook in a safe place. Other versions of the ebook, where available, cannot be downloaded but will be emailed to people who request them. There’s a space to do that on the order form – where it says Additional information, Order notes (optional). If you forget, or if you have problems downloading the .pdf, don’t worry! Email us at the address on the website and we’ll help. Also, why not check out our FAQ?

P.S. Logo of

Don’t forget to read/listen to today’s bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news from

These useful, FREE materials are published on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Each contains a selection of ‘easy’ articles and an online audio recording, the idea being that regular reading/listening practice will help students build their comprehension skills, as well as consolidating the grammar they’ve studied and helping learn new words.

FREE material for learning Italian! | Subscribing is FREE, too

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *