I was a teenager when Flash Dance was in the theatres in Rome and we all used to wear cool grey t-shirt ripped style saying things like “sugar baby doll.” We obviously didn’t know what it meant but we really felt very close to Alex look.
By this I mean that in Italy American cinema myths enjoyed easy access to the public, and almost all generations had one. Actors like Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Rock Hudson made our mothers (and us) fall in love with that charming American attitude. We all wanted to look like Farrah Fawcett and be one of the Charlie’s Angels. And then characters like Clint Eastwood and all the spaghetti Western films, which we thought they were American, were also very popular in Italy; Roger Moore, first Bond ever. John Travolta with Saturday night fever, and the list goes on.
As you may know, the Romans are very passionate and have strong charming characters that really get this fantasy. Even now fathers make their sons watch Rocky Balboa and excitedly try to transfer their fervor to the next generation.
All this is to tell you that I grew up in a time where what was mostly shown in the theaters was Hollywood and basically the Italian production was very poor: the famous crisis of the Eighties.
All the Italian movies didn’t really fit my interest, idiotic comedies that didn’t catch my sense of irony. Books took most of my spare time, and when craving for a good pellicola, apart from some exceptions, I would have looked mostly into French cinema: Truffaut, Leconte, Malle, Besson.
I renewed my interest in Italian cinema in the nineties with Le Fate Ignoranti, I had a real change of direction at that moment. I recognized a new wave of artists who like me (in the sense of my generation) tried to interpose their personality and their talent.
Unfortunately when you have to overcome names like Rossellini, Fellini, Bertolucci, Monicelli, getting the attention of audiences that used to watch their films, can be hard, no? However you could sense, a new realism was out, a new cinema that was more in synch with the new reality, has arrived.
I have been close to artists in Rome, and Rome can be very contradictory in this sense. Rome is also a bit untruthful; it likes to show off, often more than what it has. But it has the great talent to maintain its promises in one way or another, and in the end Rome always makes you happy.
In San Diego I proposed to teach Italian through cinema and I was amazed by the interest in Italian films. I proudly can say that I helped some of them discover new perspectives about Italian culture that go beyond the typical stereotypes. Shlomi was one of the most motivated students I must say, and we had a lot of fun organizing Films festivals together. He is an endless ideas generator.
I realize now that this is not really a bio, so here are a few words about my background. After working for corporations for many years in different areas, when I came to San Diego in 2004 I decided to work for myself and do what I do best, traveling. I started Exclusively Italian, where I design customized itineraries to Italy for independent travelers and small groups. I teach Italian at the ICC and UCSD extension. I serve as the president at the ICC in San Diego. I have lived in Rome, where I was born and raised. I worked in London, Milan, and Brussels. Now I live in San Diego and travel to Italy 2-3 times a year.
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