Forget about those masterpieces of Italian Neo-realism. Forget about the great comedies. Nowadays Italian cinema is a matter of family.
Sometimes cinema is a kind of mirror of our society, sometimes it could educate the society itself. So in contemporary Italian movies and screenplays directors seem to be worried about the Italian family and its crisis.
The most appreciated directors have made movies in which “Family” is always the main topic. The relationship between mother and son (La prima cosa bella – Paolo Virzì), parents vs children (Genitori e figli agitare bene prima dell’uso – Gianni veronesi) the son’s coming out and the family’s reaction (Mine vaganti – Ferzan Ozpetek) and the various aspects of couples in crisis (a bunch of directors including Gabriele Muccino).
It could sound as if the end of the traditional family (mother, father, children)might be the greatest fear in Italy. I can appreciate that in our political and economic situation the idea of ‘family nest’ could be something to console our troubles but first we should reflect on the causes of this condition. A society that is looking for a mother’s womb instead of trying to cope with its phantoms is a sick society.
I ‘ve watched other interesting movies in recent times such as the Japanese film, “Departures” by Yojiro Takita, in which the sense of death and its idea is shown with a high lyrical attitude coming from the director’s sensibility as well as the Japanese culture. “Soul Kitchen” by Fatih Akin, in which the main character is trying to find her place in the world with the help of some friends and learning the art of cooking.
So I ask myself, is the crash of the family a real problem or is it just a step towards civilization? I would answer: ‘The family is dead, long live the individual’!
Selva latina, or Tristes tropiques
”…For the first time in my life I was on the other side of the Equator, in the tropics, and in the New World. By what master-token should I recognize this triple transformation? What voice would confirm it for me, what never-yet- heard note ring out in my ear? Flippancies first: Rio seemed to me like one huge drawing-room.”
”The trees were so high that they seemed to touch the sky; and, if I understood right, they never lose their leaves; for they were as fresh and as green in November as ours are in the month of May; some were even in flower, and others were bearing fruit And wherever I turned the nightingales were singing, accompanied by thousands of other birds of one sort and another.”
Excerpts from: Tristes tropiques, by Claude Lévi-Strauss; 1955.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
What is it?
Thrown across the sand by the tide.
Where has it been?
Which nestles in it’s own crater.
Who’s seas has it seen?
Buried deeply, a mystic thing.
Is it treasure?
Overwhelmed by the flood.
Was it ever yours?
A weapon under the sea of Mananon.
Can it ever be mine?
If it was ever yours.
Lost to me for a time under the closing tide.
The World in my Apartment:
a coffee mug with Haida fish
a Grecian vase and soapstone Inuit owl
Laura’s black pot from the Fraser delta
two perfectly spherical stones
from the Capilano river
another (flat) stone
picked from the ground at Wounded Knee
leaning against the wall
with a capo on the third fret
and souvenir buttons on the strap:
Grand ol’ Opry
Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame
(to name a few)
a photograph of my father
as a young man in India
in the uniform of the Royal Air Force
trilobites from Ontario
my Mexican blanket with the Mitla motif
six pieces of charred paper blown from the
World Trade Center on 9/11
and picked off the streets of Brooklyn
photographs of Lake Louise