The films will be screened during a week-long Italian film season at the Everyman Cinema Club, Hampstead, London, to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Relief.
"It is rather embarrassing how quickly we made the list," says Minghella, the chairman of the British Film Institute. "It takes a team of curators an entire year determining what films to screen at the London Film Festival, and we traded some favourites in a few moments." Why? "Our criteria were not least to do with creating a tasting menu of Italian cinema, one that lassoes a whole variety of films for a beginner, rather than being carefully prescribed," he says.
Minghella's favourites include Ermano Olmi's The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978), a heartbreaking story of poor Italian villagers. "It is probably the least known film on the list, but I think it is the great masterpiece of Italian cinema," he says.
Another film at the top of Minghella's list is The Night of the Shooting Stars (1982), a Second World War film. "I am a great fan of the Taviani brothers, who direct it, and I was very anxious that one of their films should be included," he says. "It is full of fantasy and harshness simultaneously. One of the things about Italian cinema is that it often defies categorisation."
Last, he chooses Rocco and his Brothers (1960). "It is one of the great films of the Italian neo-realist cinema," he says. "If you just saw these three films you would have a surprising experience of the Italian cinema at its best."
9-15 September (0870 066 4777; www.everymancinema.com)Reuse content