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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2020 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano 2 E v e r y o n e r e c o g n i z e s t o cinema one, great merit: before being an industry, b e f o r e b e i n g p r o f i t s , awards and "red carpet," it is art. It is, at once, a first person and choral tale, it is past and present, even an imaginary future already made into reality. It's vision, it's the matter of dreams; it's memory, creation, genial synthesis of photography, sounds and feelings. Images, words and emotions. Of all kinds. Since its birth, cinema has had something — a greatness — that made it necessary, essential, physiolo- gical: it's part of a mechanism that is expressive, cathartic, empathic, evolutive, something we all need. For Italian cinema, this very difficult year started on the 20th of January when it celebrated Federico Fellini's 100th birthday. Marco Bellocchio, 80, the director of Il Traditore, the movie Italy proposed to the Oscars and that almost made it to the final list, defined Fellini "a much imitated prophet." He declared to Corriere della Sera that "he was a goldmine. Fully understanding Fellini is crucial for Italian culture: he is an artist as great as he is celebrated." "His ingenuity showed in La Dolce Vita, but it was adamant in 8 1/2, where it became clear he was different from everyone else. He flipped all canons upside-down, including 1950s' realism. His masterpie- ces turn into a new work of art, every time we watch them." "If we consider his work as a whole, I think we can see how it represents a real, precise picture of Italy, one that could be used to help young people to discover their country in depth," "If you want to understand our country, just watch his movies: La Dolce Vita is a novel made of History." In 2018, 20 years after Fellini's death, Martin Scorsese said to La Repubblica that "Fellini is the one who made me do cinema. There aren't many directors who widened our percep- tions as much as he did, or that changed so completely the way we experiment in this form of art. Fellini is one of them. He wasn't a simple director, he was a master." Fellini, Sordi, Valeri: 100 years of amazing Italian cinema From the director From the stage of Bari's Bif&st, the first festival to open up its doors to cinema after the lockdown, just a tad earlier than Venezia 77, charismatic Roberto Benigni said: " Fellini transformed cinema in one of the maximum representations of contemporary art. As a director, he made so many master- pieces. He put us all in front of a mirror. When he died, it's been like a piece of nature died, like oil died. How can oil die, you wonder? Probably the greatest director of the 20th cen- tury. Just like Picasso and Stravinsky, just like Kafka, the grea- test of them all, like Chaplin, who conquered my imagination and left it the way the Greeks were left after talking to the Delphi Oracle: speechless." But this year Italian cinema celebrates another icon, too: Alberto Sordi. He didn't only work with the greatest Italian directors, from Fellini to Dino Risi, from Mario Monicelli to Vittorio De Sica, from Ettore Scola to Mario Soldati. He didn't only partnered with all of our major divas: Claudia Cardinale, Monica Vitti, Franca Valeri, Silvana Mangano, Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida. With his astonishing gallery of unforgetta- ble characters, he was an absolute protagonist of our cinema and imaginary: from An American in Rome to The Traffic Policeman, from Be Sick…it's Free to Il Tassinaro, from The Miser to The Marquis of Grillo. Italy recognized herself in his characters, she laughed at herself trough him and his works. A mirror to Italian vices and bureaucracy, to Roman indolence, and to that ultimate Italian stereotype: cunning, eager to please, naive and at times coward, but also good at heart, who- lesome, pleasant and lovable. Sordi could sketch all types of characters: complex and disenchanted, funny and dramatic, comic and deep. Actor, director, author, voice actor, singer, dancer, Sordi was and still is an international excellence. American critics rightly celebrate him as a monument to the art of acting. On occasion of Sordi's 100th birthday anniversary, President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella didn't only say that he is "a symbol of Italian cinema, an ambassador of Italian comedy, " but also that "he should be an example and a stimulus for all those who, today, follow up on his foot- steps and accepted his challenge to represent people's dreams, to describe society and interpret feelings, aware that all this is living and essential part of a country's culture." Franca Valeri had more luck than her predecessors, as she reached 100 years of age, enjoying all the tributes and honors due to a career as sensational as hers: a great artist among the greats. Refined, cultivated, ironic and sharp, she was an actress, writer, theatre and opera director, entertainer, another symbol of the cinema and the culture of Italy in the 20th century. Her humor was more intellectual than crass. Her cultural audacity allowed her to think and work outside the box, to grasp profound truths in a playful yet rational way. Her women characters are unforgettable: from the "Signorina Snob," a wealthy, socially successful, but unhappy Milanese, to the all-Roman "Sora Cecioni," an ante-litteram desperate housewife eternally on the phone with "mommy." She would mock quirks and weaknesses of men and women of all social extraction, from the bourgeoisie to the working class. Alberto Sordi used to say that Franca — a personality full of charisma, irony, culture, class and observational spirit — "had a very ele- gant form humor." While remembering, albeit briefly, all these immense icons of our culture, we cannot forget Ennio Morricone, who left us only a handful of weeks ago at 92. And also, we come to realize something about Italian cinema, something we can condense in one question: what would our imaginary be without their characters, what our memories without their movies, what our sensitivity without their captivating and cul- tured teachings? How poor would we be, without the gift they made to us through their cinema? Simone Schiavinato, Director NEWS & FEATURES TOP STORIES PEOPLE EVENTS P.O.BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003 P.O.BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003 Member of FUSIE (Federazione Unitaria Stampa Italiana all'Estero), COGITO L'Italo-Americano 610 West Foothill Blvd. Unit D, Monrovia, CA 91016 - Tel.: (626) 359-7715 PLEASE SEND CORRESPONDENCE TO P.O. BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano Newspaper (a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization), www.italoamericano.org, is the largest and longest-running Italian newspaper in America, not to mention the cultural and news resource for all things Italian in the US. A bilingual newspaper which represents an historical landmark for the Italian American Communities in the West Coast and throughout the US. L'Italo-Americano benefits from subsidies by the Italian Government, Memberships and Donations intended to support and not interrupt a mission that began in 1908 to preserve and promote the Italian language and culture in the USA Periodicals postage paid at Monrovia, California 91016, and additional mailing offices. PUBLISHER Robert Barbera Grande Ufficiale DIRECTOR/EDITOR IN CHIEF Simone Schiavinato ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER Patrick Abbate EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Barbara Minafra COPY EDITOR Francesca Bezzone LOS ANGELES CONTRIBUTOR Silvia Giudici SAN FRANCISCO CONTRIBUTORS Catherine Accardi Serena Perfetto SEATTLE CONTRIBUTOR Rita Cipalla CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mariella Radaelli, Francesca Bezzone, Luca Ferrari, Stefano Carnevali, Joel Mack, Paula Reynolds, Nicoletta Curradi, GenerosoD'Agnese, Fabrizio Del Bimbo, Maria Gloria, Alfonso Guerriero Jr., Anthony Di Renzo Serena Perfetto, Kenneth Scambray, Chiara D'Alessio © 2020 L'Italo-Americano Membership: One year $59 - Single copy $2.25 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to L'Italo Americano PO Box 6528 Altadena, CA 91003

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