L'Italo-Americano

italoamericano-digital-11-2-2017

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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2017 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano 2 NEWS & FEATURES TOP STORIES PEOPLE EVENTS T he 2017 edition of the Settimana della Lingua Italiana nel Mondo, the Week of the Italian Language in the World, was dedicated to "The Italian at the cinema, the Italian in the cinema." A word play that underlines the strong ties between language and iden- tity the Seventh Art manages to emphasize thanks to the popular, easy-to-understand communica- tive allure of the big screen. This is a characteristic typical of the arts, design, food, fashion and all the excellences linked to the "Italian way of life," through which the country tries to project an always attractive image of itself to the world. "Italy is a country of culture, a patrimony to protect and make known," said Italy's president Sergio Mattarella in his message to the directors of the 83 Institu- tes of Italian Culture worldwide. In recent years, the promotion of Italian culture has become an innovative strategy to value the Made in Italy abroad, as well as the concept used to support the diffusion and knowledge of Ita- lian, both as a language and a means of cultural representation. La Farnesina's cultural and diplo- matic network strives to do this using a theme - cinema, this year - that becomes a connecting line for conferences, exhibitions, shows and meetings with writers and personalities eager to concre- tely demonstrate our country's true value, beyond common ste- reotypes. Because vivere all'Ita- liana, living the Italian way, means to highlight how every dimension of living creating, pro- ducing and doing has unique ele- ments, intimately tied to our cul- tural identity. Why cinema? "We chose this theme because we want to asso- ciate the promotion of the Italian language to the national cultural and creative industry, which represents 14% of the country's GDP. We believe that promoting our language through something internationally recognized as an Italian excellence, like cinema and the arts, reinforces the idea of Italian as a living language, of Italian living through the creative industry." Vincenzo De Luca, the general director for the promo- tion of the Sistema Paese endor- sed by the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, perfectly explained why today promoting the Italian language through an easily understood channel is essential: "We're reviving the idea that living the Italian way is an attrac- tive option, all over the world. We want to strengthen these ties between Italy and a certain qua- lity of life, culture, history and tradition." In this sense, cinema repre- sents a strategic factor and this is why bringing to the Italo-Ameri- can community an initiative like Cinema Italian Style is so impor- tant: just like radio and televi- sion, the big screen is a means to get to know Italians. The way cinema has influenced, and keeps on influencing, the Italian lan- guage takes center stage. Many are the words, nouns, expressions and sayings that, thanks to the success of a movie or an actor, have become common linguistic expression: one example for them all, the words "dolce vita" and "paparazzo," inherited from Fel- lini's La Dolce Vita (1960), which have entered the everyday vocabulary of many a language. But cinema is also a powerful instrument to critically assess reality. It shows our country, it reveals its evolution, it under- stands its most intimate and com- mon social characteristics, beco- ming, also from a didactic point of view, an indispensable instru- ment to understand our national culture. A culture made, just like Italian cuisine, of a series of local features. In particular, regional Italian, that is, the lan- guage typical of an area, rich in dialectal expressions laden in historical, social and cultural value, received great support from cinema, which didn't only make it known, but also helped create icons that turned into real poles of attraction for specific areas in the country, features that made a place unique and, often, more touristically interesting. Italy believes in this project, numbers show it: in 2016-2017 the Farnesina international network has organized more than 5000 events in about 100 coun- tries, 1000 of them in occasion of the Settimana della Lingua Italiana nel Mondo and 1300 for the first Settimana della Cucina Italiana nel Mondo. Italian is one of the most loved and studied languages in the world. In Italy, only few are aware of the attractiveness it has abroad, where every year more than 2 million individuals choose to learn it. Promoting our langua- ge means, in the end, promoting ourselves and our cultural patri- mony, while its diffusion repre- sents, rightly, one of our foreign policy's most important aspects. Language, cinema and cuisine: why we must promote them in the world BARBARA MINAFRA

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