Dustin Hoffman speaks Italian in this video where he tries his hand at reciting a poem by famous Italian poet, Giacomo Leopardi. The poem in question is described as Leopardi’s greatest work. Called “L’infinito”, it is about eternity and from the native Marche poet, works well as a tribute to the region.
The video above is a commercial to promote tourism in Italy’s beautiful Marche region, but it has been met with criticism from Italy’s intellectual elite due to Hoffman’s difficulties with the language. I actually think it works quite well, but perhaps not for an Italian public.
Imagine this in America and you’d have more than one Italo-American all of a sudden discovering their Italian roots and rushing back to the Marche. The region is Italy’s unsung beauty, and this commercial won’t do it any favours in keeping it a secret for the rest of us. I still give kudos to Hoffman for the effort, and think that of all American actors doing a publicity stunt, he is one of the few who would genuinely understand and appreciate the literary work at hand. See the poem in Italian after the jump, along with an English translation of “L’infinito”.
I have yet to read Roberto Saviano’s Gomorrah, the best-selling Italian book which has become a famous film. The book examines the depth of the mafia control of Italy: Italian life, Italian families, and business in this country, in a vice-like grip that will perhaps never be shaken off.
Saviano is not about mythologising the mafia, a popular passtime, it seems, in Italo-America and other cultures who understand nothing of the seriousness of how a society can suffer under an organised crime regime such as this. In this interview, Saviano talks of what he hopes his obituary might say, getting inside the head and hearts of his readers and the stink of mafia money as the bosses attempt to make heros of themselves.
Roberto Saviano has been nominated for the European parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Saviano was nominated by Sonia Alfano, chair of Italy’s association of mafia victims. I wonder if the freedom of thought prize will help assuage the life of imprisonment, in hiding from the mafia, that Saviano now leads.
Source | Abbondanza
Rome pays homage to one of the most loved Italian comic strip heros of all time: Diabolik. I don’t know if the word really suits him, after all we are talking about a thief, but a thief , mind you, that readers love dearly. Now for the first time an exhibition in Rome will be devoted to him and Eva Kant, his beautiful girlfriend turned thief for love. The display arranged on three floors at the Palazzo Incontro will run until 13 September 2009. The exhibition “ Diabolik and Eva Kant” has been organised by journalist (and comics buff) Vincenzo Mollica.
Touring Campania from Naples to the Amalfi Coast, might seem like a romantic trip, but not if you’re travelling on the Circumvesuviana Campania train line. While it passes some of Italy’s most beautiful landscapes, with views to take your breath away, you need some patience to get you through the trip as well.
With stinking trains that break down or run late, and often not the most ideal of fellow travelling companions, it is hardly the grand tour of Campania that you might think.
Which is why violinist Pasquale Nocerino and actora Gaia Bassi and Davide Sacco decided to provide some entertainment to the tiring passengers, in the form of street art and cultural meets. Reciting Italian literature from Campania writers, reports state that more than 5,000 book copies from the readings have been sold.
“Come Dio Comanda” or ‘God’s Will’ is a film by Italian filmmaker Gabriele Salvatores, with Elio Germano, Filippo Timi, Fabio De Luigi, Angelica Leo and Alvaro Caleca. The film is based on the book by Niccolò Ammaniti who is famous for “Io non ho paura”, or ‘I’m not scared’, an Ammaniti book that became a film adapted by the same Salvatores.
“God’s Will” is about a father and son who are so linked in a tragic and violent love that they challenge the world together. The father, Rino, is an unemployed Nazi-fascist, with swastikas decorating the house. His son, Cristiano, is 14 years old, and to be brought up in this world that has forgotten the love for patriotism. Cristiano venerates his father, considering the latter a spiritual guide, a light, a god to be obeyed when god commands.
Five years after “Io non ho paura”, Salvatores and Ammaniti are working together again on this complicated film of the celebrated novel. In a cold, desolate and alienating northern Italian province, Italian director Salvatores recreates Ammaniti’s novel, concentrating on the incredible relationship of the father and son, so politically incorrect and wrong that it is difficult to sympathise with.
Giovanni Pascoli (1855-1912) is one of the greatest Italian poets. Italian children know his most famous poems by heart and adults, though ages have passed since their school days, still remember a few lines of his best poems, but today we are not here to talk about poetry but the Pascoli surname which originated in Sant’Alberto di Romagna. Every year the poet’s 40 descendent, no matter where they now live, gather together and spend the whole day talking with pride about their ancestor.
This year they will all meet at the Museo casa Pascoli which hosts a new exhibition called Pascoli, un cognome attraverso i secoli or Pascoli, a surname through the centuries and which is dedicated to the vast Pascoli family; a family that includes writers, top doctors and managers. So I f you are in Italy during the cold winter months it could be interesting for you to visit the home of the poet in San Mauro di Romagna and.. mix with his family!
Who would have thought that behind the smiling faces of these two women were hiding the authors of Diabolik, the comic that scandalised Italy in the 1960’s? To give you an idea of their story and the importance of the comic strip genre in Italy’s literary history, the History Channel is dedicating a documentary to sisters Angela and Luciana Giussani.
These two extraordinary sisters have done just about everything in life: photo models, aviators, protagonists of the jet set and editors, they made some courageous choices in 1960’s Milan when female emancipation was a concept still a long way off.
A couple of genius ideas launched them into the editorial panorama: the pocket-size form (12 by 17 cm) of Diabolik that enabled “portable” reading, and a new character in comic books in the form of an anti-hero that broke traditional moulds, accompanied by a unique women in the character of Eva Kant. Paying no attention to censure and public moral criticism of the time, the two sisters continued with their creation, becoming a historic success of the modern era.