Friday, April 30, 2010

La Notte Italiana

The movie
My former home-the monastery

The town from afar surrounded by girasole

This is the 3rd year of the Italian Film Festival with movies all over the place including here at UM. My film instructor Elena is one of the organizers. The opening venue was the very ornate theater in the Detroit Insititute of Arts. I couldn't convince anyone to come with me though at the end, Steve reluctantly came so I wouldn't have to walk the streets of Detroit alone at night.
The movie Baaria was all in Sicilian dialect though there were English subtitles. It was also filmed in Standard Italian as even the mainland Italians have trouble understanding the dialect. But we had the Sicilian version as the movie was an epic study of historical events over a 50 year period through the eyes of one person. Until the economic miracle of the 60s, life was very hard in Italy, the more so the further south you were so many became immigrants. Life was toughest in Sicily, which the movie portrayed in detail. Not a fun place to be. As with many of the Italian films we have seen, there is no pat ending and there are symbols and dream sequences interspersed so one has trouble following what is going on. The photography was stunning and the individuals were fascinating. I loved it though I knew Steve was wishing he'd just had stayed home. There was a wine reception afterwards but as it was quite late, I let him go home.

It was fun seeing Elena (who cut off her hair!) and Jim, my Italian 110 instructor. If they get enough people, he will be returning this summer for the program. The monastery has been repaired from the earthquake damage. Dean, the English teacher for Italians, already has plenty of students. I didn't see Rafaele, the program director but so many people were there. The program is a 5 week stay in an Abruzzo hilltown of 300 (Gagliano Aterno). Students live, eat and attend classes in a monastery. On weekends, we had field trips to Naples, Rome and Florence. During the week, small hilltowns had Sangras(food festivals) inviting us to take part. Lots of Italian culture-though mostly Southern hilltown. There were Italian students from the University of L'Aquila (near the epicenter of the April 2009 earthquake) in the program learning English. We were to interact with them. Joanne, one of my roommates, was also there last night. I had enrolled in that program 2 years ago with my 'retraining' allowance after being downsized en masse. It was a very special time for me especially as soon as I returned, I found myself in Cancerland. Mornings in the cool, still mountain air running on impossible slopes on an ancient Roman road still with 2000 year old markers on the side with a stray, lame Maremma sheepdog (the kids called him Dave)trying to keep me in the fold with body checks. Running while seeing packs of boar, a lone wolf, and several micro deer with only the sounds of my labored breathing and church bells.

Three days of Hell! I am overwhelmed with all that Naomi (I)must do. I will take a rare break from exercising today (telling myself that I've exceeded my monthly quota by quite a bit). Mom's night tonight. I've got the ingredients for a blackberry panna cotta. Should I make one big one or a bunch of little ones? Josh is coming by to discuss his meeting with Naomi and Dontae with his buddy the social worker.


Teri Bernstein said...

I like to make a lot of little ones. the other day I baked a rhubarb and strawberry pie with whole wheat crust. Or, rather one smallish big one and one pot pie sized and one tiny one. Enjoy! I wish we had rented a car for a day and had gone to visit your old stomping grounds...but is there anything in our trip I would have let go of? Guess I'll have to go again. Rosetta Stone, here I come.

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

The closest we came on our trip to Gagliano was in Firenze, a good 6 hours away but it isn't all that far away from Rome. So much we didn't see!
As for my panna cotta, I made a mixture of little ones and 2 big ones. The blackberries are marinating in this really good liquer as I write.

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