Happy to Be Different (2014): Gianni Amelio’s Docu of Gay Life in Italy

Happy to Be Different (Felice chi è diverso)

Gianni Amelio, Italy, 2014, 93m

A moving and enlightening work of oral history, Gianni Amelio’s documentary is a chronicle of gay life in Italy from the fall of Fascism through the early 1980s.


If you want to know more about gay cinema, please read my book:

Gay Directors, Gay Films? By Emanuel Levy (Columbia University Press, August 2015)

Amelio combines interviews with a wide range of older gay Italian men (including Pasolini muse Ninetto Davoli), newsreel footage, and clips from “educational” films warning against homosexuality, and in the process reveals a profound gap between the subjects’ firsthand experiences and the Italian media’s representations of them.

The resulting film is a deeply personal account of the advent of gay culture amid the ruins of Mussolini’s Italy and the eternally poignant story of how persecuted individuals developed pragmatic ways to attain everyday happiness.