ASU hosts Italian Film Festival USA

By

Roxane Barwick

The School of International Letters and Cultures in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will host the 2014 Italian Film Festival USA on Saturday, April 26, in Coor Hall, room 174, on the Tempe campus. The festival is free and open to the public.

The event features four recent award-winning Italian films screened in Italian language with English subtitles. Faculty members from the Italian program in the school will be on hand to answer cultural questions.

The films include:

9:30 a.m. - "Women Workers' War"

Directed by Massimo Ferrari, this documentary tells the story of two women: one who leads a 500 day factory sit-in by women in Italy, and the other who operates a biscuit factory that encourages cultural growth among the workers. The film won an award at the Workers Unite! Film Festival.

11:15 a.m. - "Hello Papa"

Directed by Edoardo Leo, the film tells the story of Andrea, a handsome and self-assured thirty-eight-year-old with a successful career and active social life, who suddenly finds himself face to face with a seventeen-year-old girl who claims to be his daughter and her aging ex-rockstar grandfather. They have come to stay!

2 p.m. - "The Red and the Blue"

Directed by Giuseppe Piccioni, this comedy is set against the backgroud of a Roman school, and tells the intersecting stories of an art history professor who has lost his passion for the job, a young substitute teacher who is trying to save a rebellious student, and a stern head mistress who is forced to deal with an abandonded student.

4 p.m. - "The Jewell"

Directed by Andrea Molaioli, this dramatic film demonstrates the perils of a large conglomerate food company founder who places his closest relatives and trusted managers in key positions in the company despite their lack of training and business acumen, which sends the business into a spiral of debt and "creative accounting."

The Italian language is the official language of Italy, where it is spoken by about 65 million people. It is the official language of San Marino, the primary language of Vatican City, and one of four official languages of Switzerland. The total number of people worldwide who speak Italian as a first or second language is estimated at more than 85 million.

Of all the Romance languages, Italian is the most direct descendant of Latin. Beginning in late medieval times, Italian language dialects replaced Latin to become the primary commercial language in much of Europe and the Mediterranean Sea.

These variants were consolidated during the Renaissance with the strength of Italian and the rise of humanism in the arts. During this time, Italy had a strong artistic influence over the rest of Europe. All educated Europeans were expected to visit Italy to see its great historical monuments and works of art, so it was expected everyone would know a little Italian. For example, the English poet John Milton wrote some of his early poetry in Italian. In England, Italian became the second-most common language to be learned, after French.

Today, the influence of Italian continues to be felt at the level of high culture, in the lexis of music and the figurative arts.

The School of International Letters and Cultures offers a major and minor in Italian language and culture. The school also leads three faculty-directed summer programs to Italy each year, "Florence Summer Program," "Classics in Naples" and "Italian Language in San Severino Marche."