Category Archives: Film Theatre and Media

Addio a Peter Bondanella (1943-2017)

Gino Moliterno    ANU

Peter Bondanella, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, Film Studies and Italian at Indiana University, died on 28 May. In an academic career spanning more than four decades Bondanella’s contribution to Italian Studies was extraordinary; the falling silent of his voice will be very sad news for all Italianists in the English-speaking world, especially those interested in cinema. His generosity of spirit, the depth and breadth of scholarship, love of Italian cinema, sardonic sense of humour, and determination always to contribute to the valorisation of Italian culture will be greatly missed. Federico Fellini perhaps summed up Peter’s style best when, in the foreword he contributed to The Cinema of Federico Fellini (1992), he wrote: ‘The most exciting aspect of Bondanella’s work is, in fact, his inextinguishable faith in the power of reason and systematization which reminds us in a nostalgic way of methods and choices inspired by respect and harmony’.   Continue reading

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Il futuro della fine …

The idea of the apocalypse usually binds together catastrophe and rebirth, the end and the transcendence of the end. The conviction that the destruction of one world is accompanied by the construction of another has thus ensured a longstanding link between the idea of the  apocalypse and messianic-utopian thought. The Department of Italian Studies at the University of Warsaw, in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute, is holding an international and interdisciplinary conference, Il futuro della fine. Narrazioni e rappresentazioni dell’apocalisse dal Novecento a oggi, on December 4- 5, 2017.  The key theme is the paradigm of the apocalypse and post-apocalypse in culture and the arts from the early 20th century to the present day. Keynote speakers include Carla Benedetti (University of Pisa), Carlo Bordoni (University of Florence), Michele Cometa (University of Palermo), Sergio Givone (University of Florence) and Carlo Pagetti (University of Milan). Proposals for papers in Italian, English or Polish (title, abstract and brief author bio) must be submitted to convegno.apocalisse@gmail.com by July 20, 2017. Further details of the contents and registration can be found here.
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Oltre i confini: Italia transnazionale

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.

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La ballata delle balàte in Australia

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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

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Celebrating the Life of Dario Fo: “Contra Jogulatores Obloquentes”

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.

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Orlando, Rinaldo and Angelica arrive in Sydney

PALERMO 10/2012 PHOTO: ERIC VANDEVILLE

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

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The rise and rise of Checco Zalone: Quo vado

Gino Moliterno    Australian National University

280px-53121_pplFor 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).

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Italian Studies position at Monash

monash-university-logoThe 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.

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Italian film festival: Australian cities, 13 Sept – 19 Oct 2016

220px-Perfetti-Sconosciuti-Poster-Locandina-2016How 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.

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