Florence’s Summer Cinema in English 2021

The open air cinema at Villa Bardini

Film lovers in Florence can once again enjoy the summer pastime of outdoor cinema beginning this month.  The 2021 edition of Apriti Cinema, sponsored by Cinema Alfieri, presents top rated movies at iconic spots in the city.  Of interest to an English speaking audience, three diverse selections can be enjoyed.  Nomadland features Frances McDormand’s powerful acting imparting meaning with looks and glances in a film about the failed American Dream and survival.  Patti In Florence takes viewers back to alternative rocker Patti Smith’s 1979 celebrated concert in Florence.  In honor of the 4th of July weekend, the classic American Graffiti will be shown on July 3, always the auspices of the Apriti Cinema Festival but in another location.

Another option is Villa Bardini, an open air theater (cinema in villa) overlooking the Florence night cityscape that will be offering movies (two are in English: The Father and Downton Abbey) from July 5 to August with an entrance fee of €5.


The highly praised film Nomadland, directed by Chloe Zhao and starring Frances McDormand, comes to the courtyard of the Novecento Museum of 20th and 21st Century Art on June 28.  McDormand plays Fern, a 61-year-old widow who loses her job when the gypsum plant where she works shuts down, and her home shortly after during the Great Recession.  She moves into a van, traveling the western US, encountering numerous long-time migrants, some played by real life nomads.  Fern insists she’s not homeless, just houseless and subsists by working in a string of temporary jobs.  The film, which won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress also won the BAFTA Best Film Award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (9:30 pm.  Screened in English with Italian subtitles.  Reservations are mandatory and €8 tickets can be purchased online at: www.spazioalfieri.it). A repeat showing of Nomadland at the Novecento Museum is scheduled on July 30, again at 9:30 pm with tickets available online once more.


The Festival dei Popoli and Apriti Cinema offer a series of films in the historic courtyard between the two wings of the Uffizi Gallery with one in English.  On Tuesday, June 29, Patti In Florence, a 2020 documentary directed by Edoardo Zucchetti, recounts the legendary 1979 concert by the Patti Smith Group when 80,000 spectators crammed into the Artemio Franchi Stadium to experience the punk rock star’s music.  As the camera follows Smith through the streets and historic places of Florence, the director chronicles the special relationship between the musician and the city.  (9:30 pm.  In English and Italian with English and Italian subtitles.  Admission is free, but reservations required through www.spazioalfieri.it).

On Saturday, July 3, in honor of the American Independence Day, George Lucas’s 1973 film American Graffiti comes to the Uffizi Courtyard.  This coming-of-age tale of four teenagers in a small town in the US stars Harrison Ford, Richard, Dreyfuss, Ron Howard and Charlie Martin Smith on their last night before leaving for college.  Reminiscent of 1960s America, the film portrays a nostalgic period of drive-ins, drag car racing and teen romance with a super soundtrack composed of the best rock and roll songs of the era (9:30 pm.  In English with Italian subtitles.  Admission is free, but reservations required through www.spazioalfieri.it).


Friday evenings at Villa Bardini (Costa San Giorgio 2) are devoted to films in the original language with Italian subtitles.  Two on the program are in English:  The Father on July 16 and Downton Abbey on August 6.

Starring Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Coleman, The Father is a movie for which Hopkins won Best Actor, also receiving the recognition for the Best Original Screenplay at the 2021 Academy Awards.  Set in 1927, Downton Abbey picks up where popular series of the same name left off with a visit of the King and Queen of England to the English country manor of the same name, pitting servants against the royal intruders.  Other plot twists unveil politics, family secrets and a planned murder.

The showings will take place on the terrace, accommodating a capacity of 100 audience members while complying with social distancing regulations.  Admission (€5) must be booked in advance on www.cinemainvilla.it, a website soon to be launched, or by calling 393 8570925 between 6 and 10 pm.  (rita kungel/additional reporting by elizabeth berry)