L'Italo-Americano

italoamericano-digital-11-30-2017

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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2017 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano 2 A movie is a w indow upon reality. A frame s hot upon a s tory. The ability to put a problem or an event into focus , to represent a social, personal or psychological reality. A movie is als o a w ay to create p arallel and alternative worlds, it is a moment of reflection and motivation, an idea that leads to evaluating reality and confront it, often implying the necessity of questioning ourselves and our beliefs. A movie is a mosaic piece, a background upon which collocating an interpretation of reality, a well-directed spotlight that can bring attention to those living at the fringes of society. In this sense, A Ciambra helps put together the jigsaw, it adds a usually missing piece in all pictures of Italy, especially in the blow-up images of the country promoted abroad, both its black-and-white and iconic - but also trite and stereotypical - version (pizza, mandolins, sea, sun and good food) and its full-color one, as embodied by its dolce vita (à la Pane Amore e Fantasia) and its spectacular monumentality (à la Grande Bellezza). The film des cribes a very peculiar area and community, highlighting a slice of society often imbued with prejudices related to the life and culture of Italy's Rom ethnic minority, and to its conflictual relationship with those sharing the same urban context with them. It brings to the fore a Calabrian neighborhood unknown to most, willingly forgotten by many. It also describes a family and its microcosm, offering through it a view of the world surrounding it. In turn, the coming of age story of the protagonist represents a narrow prospect on a much wider and more complex scene. Even though the screenplay has been conceived and realized with a documentary style in mind, that is, real life scenes and events have been introduced in the narrative, it shouldn't be forgotten all actors actually play themselves. It is, in the end, the story of an experience: a single one, among many possible. A Ciambra, by Jonas Carpignano, has been chosen to represent Italy in the Best Foreign Movie category at the 2018 Academy Awards. The movie, which received very positive feedback at the Cannes Festival, in the Quinzaine des Thinking about how Italian identity can change through cinema From the director Réalisateurs section, has been sponsored by Martin Scorsese, who is its executive producer. Beyond its plot, beyond the views it offers on its characters and their behavior, the film presents a new idea of Italy, which we should embrace. Starting from the idea itself of "Italian" that we should elaborate anew, if ever one able to encapsulate the concepts of homogeneity and uniformity ever existed. Not only because a Calabrese is naturally and proudly different from a Friulian, just like their regions with their landscapes, climates and territories are, but also because Italy's cultural and ethnic diversity is not a reality of today, brought by the consequences of globalization, as we often are led to believe. Minorities have been in Italy for centuries, and for centuries they have been living its history and culture while maintaining theirs alive just like, to return to the example of A Ciambra, the Rom community did. It is only because of mental idleness, convenience or old habits that people don't consider them Italian. Leaving aside the law, the same is done with children of immigrants born and bred in the country. They go to the same schools and speak the same language, often sporting a full Roman, Neapolitan Turinese or Veneto accent, than kids and teenagers born from Italian parents. Yet, they remain "foreigners" until they turn 18. In the US, once again leaving aside ius soli, passports and naturalization process, at least you are Italian-American. In Italy, you remain a foreigner, someone who comes from abroad. The discussion should end with some considerations about Jonas Carpignano's own identity: he was born in New York, from an Italian father and an African-American mother. He grew up between Rome and New York and he has long lived in Gioia Tauro, in Calabria, the same town he describes in his movies. Carpignano holds within several cultural identities, and this makes him more open to accept and embrace cultural and social differences, without prejudices and superstructures. Better able to describe the diversity of a community, than the Italian public is to understand his film, without preconceptions and stereotypes. With his two works, Mediterranea and A Ciambra, Carpignano offers a disenchanted look - much more disenchanted than ours - at a "mediterraneità" we belong to, but also recoil from all at once. And probably, he managed to do it also thanks to his "being American." Yet, thinking about it, even the idea of Italian-American should be updated, freed from stereotypes, from all those old-fashioned images that no longer represent the same Americans with their parents, grandparents or great grandparents, who arrived to the New World from some small village of our peninsula. Simone Schiavinato, Director NEWS & FEATURES TOP STORIES PEOPLE EVENTS

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