My interest in Italian cinema has sprung after seven years of studying the language every Saturday in numerous schools; from the Scuola Italiana del Greenwich Village, The Italian Community Center of San Diego (ICC) and currently at SUNY’s Westchester Community College. It’s truly all about the teachers and the beauty of the language to take you places. So much that I used to joke that every Saturday I’m literally spending a few hours in Italy…
When you think about who might be interested in taking Italian language classes you usually find two main groups: Italian-Americans who are naturally looking to get closer to their family roots, and us Italofiles – probably the largest group having no Italian ancestry. We usually come in three flavors: Relationship Builders: we may have an Italian significant other, so it’s good for the relationship, Business Drivers we may be on our way to work in Italy or have worked in the past and lastly, the Fans who at some point got severely hooked by the culture richness and its people.
I confess I belong to the Fans who strongly believe that in this day and age sometimes you need to venture out and see the world through different cultural lenses. I got stung in 2000, somewhere along the quaint alleys of those charming medieval towns in Toscana during my first trip to Italy.
At ICC, in San Diego my last class was Italian through Cinema led by Maestra Laura Bianconcini, a gifted teacher from Rome, where we watched films and then had lively and endless discussions about style, actors, meanings and historical contexts. At that time, we launched the Classic Italian Film Festival dedicated to classic films – from neorealism to comedy – that ran successfully throughout the year.
So the natural progression after I left San Diego to New York, was to create cafe Pellicola – a blog that captures the magic of fine Italian cinema and share it with everyone. The result is a unique blend of perspectives from Laura, a native speaker who provides valuable cultural insights from the inside, myself, savoring these cinematic delicacies – looking in from the outside, and all of you with your special observations who enrich our discussions every day.
Beyond cinema, I wear the digital media hat. Thanks for stopping by and see you at the movies!
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