Courtesy of Parthenos Distribuzione

Citizens of the World

Movie Information

It's not a laugh-out-loud comedy but an affable fable about three Italian retirees determined to find a new home abroad.
Genre: Foreign Film/Comedy
Director: Gianni Di Gregorio
Starring: Ennio Fantastichini, Giorgio Colangeli, Gianni Di Gregorio
Rated: NR

Giorgetto is an Italian living on a pension who has retired from a life of working as little as possible. He tells his friend, a retired high school classics teacher known only as The Professor, that he’s heard that their meager incomes will go much further if they move abroad. Thus begins the gentle comedy Citizens of the World, originally titled Lontano Lontano (roughly, Far, Far Away). The duo become a trio when they rope in new friend Attilio, who restores antiques and has no pension at all. Together, the three men contrive to amass as much capital as they can and find paradise — somewhere.

These guys are not the dapper, witty old men of Hollywood movies — they look and act well worn, and their dialogue is realistically scattered and prickly. They’re basically good guys, having befriended a homeless young refugee from Mali named Abu, whose courage and ambitious plans contrast with the older men’s shaky commitment and shoddy execution of their own scheme.

The director, Gianni Di Gregorio, who also plays The Professor, has an easygoing style on both sides of the camera as well as co-writing the script. The movie’s theme — the tension between “the grass is greener” and “home sweet home” — is developed in smile-inducing scenes, mostly populated with the kinds of ordinary, upbeat, struggling people rarely seen in American films. The setting is Rome — not the romantic city of spy movies, but a sprawling metropolis of dust and dingy bars and overstuffed bodegas. (Tourist landmarks are seen only briefly, and from a distance.)

Like the Rome they inhabit, Di Gregorio and his two co-stars (Ennio Fantastichini and Giorgio Colangeli) are likable not because they’re heroic but because they’re gritty and real. Similarly, Citizens of the World is not a laugh-out-loud comedy but an affable fable that ends with a genial twist and some watermelon — like the film, sweet but not that filling.

Available to rent via


Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.