BEYOND BORDERS. Transnational Italy/OLTRE I CONFINI. Italia Transnazionale, an exhibition curated by Viviana Gravano and Giulia Grechi, will open at the Co.As.It Museo Italiano, 199 Faraday Street, Melbourne, on Thursday 4 May 2017 at 6.30pm (free, registration here). It will be introduced by Loredana Polezzi (Cardiff University) and Rita Wilson (Monash University), with a performance by Luci Callipari-Marcuzzo. The exhibition is part of TML – Transnationalizing Modern Languages. Mobility, Identity and Translation in Modern Italian Cultures, a major international research project which includes collaborations with the Istituto Italiano di Cultura (London), J. Calandra Institute in New York, Co.As.It Melbourne and other partners. The project looks at the Italian communities established in the UK, the US, Australia, South America, Africa and at the migrant communities of contemporary Italy. After Rome, London and New York, the adapted version of the exhibition will be open at the Museo Italiano from 4-27 May, accompanied by a photographic project, Italy is Out, by Mario Badagliacca who has worked as artist in residence for the project in London, New York and Buenos Aires.
Vincenzo Pirrotta will shortly return to Australia to present his play La ballata delle balàte at the Street Theatre in Canberra on 5 April (7.30pm, registration here) and on 7-8 April at the Italian Forum in Leichhardt, Sydney (7.30pm, registration here). On 6 April at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Sydney (6.00-9.00pm, registration here) Pirrotta will introduce and discuss the play. La ballata delle balàte is a one-hour monologue in Sicilian dialect (English surtitles), written, interpreted and directed by Pirrotta accompanied by music by Giovanni Parrinello performed by Dario Sulis. The protagonist is a mafioso fugitive who in his hideout proclaims his faith in God while at the same time following the cruel logic of the mafia. The play offers a profound reflection on the relation between mafia and religious devotion with its staging marking the duality between sacred and profane (the blood of Christ and of mafia victims cohabit in the mafioso’s mind) and culminating in the adoration of a monstrance containing a characteristic form of mafia instruction (pizzzini). The hideout becomes for the mafioso a kind of place of worship, made out of church candles, a table and two chairs, where he prays wearing a crown of thorns and a noose around his neck. Continue reading
Sally Grant New York
Dario Fo died last Thursday, 13 October, at the age of 90. Rather than fumbling to find the right words to honour this great anarchic jester, we thought we’d let the masterful teller of yarns do it for us by linking to his acceptance speech for the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature. In “Contra Jogulatores Obloquentes” (“Against Jesters Who Defame and Insult”) Fo records his debt to earlier clowns and storytellers, particularly the actor-playwrights Ruzzante and Molière. Fo’s description of these men and the fear their art evoked could well describe his own theatrical skills and how he, along with his wife and frequent co-performer Franca Rame, were received by the political establishment:
“Above all, they were despised for bringing onto the stage the everyday life, joys and desperation of the common people; the hypocrisy and the arrogance of the high and mighty; and the incessant injustice. And their major, unforgivable fault was this: in telling these things, they made people laugh. Laughter does not please the mighty.”
But it pleases, and emboldens, the not-so-mighty. For those gifts, and as you take your last bow, Jester Fo, we give a standing ovation.
‘Il gran duello di Orlando e Rinaldo per amore della bella Angelica‘, narrated by Mimmo Cuticchio, master in the art of the Teatro dei Pupi Siciliani (Sicilian puppet theatre) and of the cuntu (oral tale), will be presented for the first time in Australia at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, 1 Powerhouse Road (entry via Shepherd Street) in Sydney on Sunday 23 October at 11am and 5pm (bookings here). The show, the great duel between Orlando and Rinaldo to win Angelica’s heart, is an example of modification of the narrative structure of the Opra de’ Pupi, born out of the need to adapt the performance to a new audience. The language of the show is condensed in order to give more prominence to the staging quality than to a thorough development of the traditional story. Continue reading
Gino Moliterno Australian National University
For anyone interested in gauging the present state of Italian cinema, the real must-see film programmed in this year’s Lavazza Italian Film Festival (alongside the impeccably-restored version of Visconti’s Rocco and His Brothers) was undoubtedly Quo vado. The fourth in a series of successful vehicles hand-stitched for thirty-something TV comic and musician, Checco Zalone (Luca Medici), and directed, as were the previous three, by an otherwise unknown Gennaro Nunziante, Quo vado was released in January 2016 and immediately began to rewrite the Italian box-office record books, almost equaling in its first weekend the box-office take of the first three weeks run on Italian screens of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Having already earned upwards of an estimated €65 million worldwide, it has effectively become the highest-grossing Italian film of all time, almost effortlessly overtaking the previous record-holder, Roberto Benigni’s Oscar-winning Life is Beautiful (1997).
The Italian Studies program within the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics at Monash University seeks to fill a continuing position at Level D or Level C (Associate Professor or Senior Lecturer) to be taken up from July 2017. The appointee will be an established scholar with a significant record of research in one or more of the following areas: contemporary or 20th Century Italian cultural, literary or film studies; medieval and/or renaissance Italian cultural or literary studies; applied linguistics; translation and intercultural studies. Interdisciplinary approaches are particularly welcome. The full position description and information on how to apply (closing date: Sunday 30 October 2016) is available here.
How well do we really know those close to us? At a dinner party seven friends decide to find out. Each puts their phone on the table and agrees to make all texts and calls public in an attempt to prove they have nothing to hide… Perfect Strangers, Paolo Genovese’s film which opens the 17th Lavazza Italian Film Festival in Sydney on 13 September, explores what happens. The Film Festival, sponsored by Lavazza and driven by FIAT, will take place in seven Australian cities, 13 Sept – 19 Oct. The details of the films, cities, dates and session times can all be found here.
The 9th Biennial ACIS conference, Scontri e incontri: the dynamics of Italian transcultural exchanges, hosted in association with the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University, will be held at the Monash University Centre in Prato, Italy, on 4-7 July 2017. The conference will explore sites of contact, connection and exchange in the Italian context. Some can be understood as open sites of interaction and juxtaposition in which people, goods and ideas from across the globe come and go and which are shaped by important trajectories of trade or distinctive histories of colonialism, imperialism or globalisation. When encounters occur in contexts of asymmetrical relations of power, no exchange or contact is present without an inherent confrontation. Language is used to create or manipulate perceptions that are formed when worlds collide. It turns contact into an uneven exchange, such as colonisation, modern warfare and even gender relations. What are the repercussions of such uneven exchanges? How can examining these notions and their representations help illuminate common debates around identity (politics), ideology, globalisation and crisis, human rights, memory and history, the environment, and individual bodies, among others? Conversely, how can we better understand the potential of modern diasporas to connect cultures and lead to collaboration and renewal, through the establishment of wider-ranging networks and positive forms of exchange? The organisers are now calling for paper and panel proposals, to be submitted here, by 31 October 2016.