Oct 3, 2013

There must be a Vespa!

Sixty year after Roman Holiday, an old Vespa is mandatory! It has to be shown in an American movie about the “Italian Dream”. It does not matter if it’s rare to see old Vespas in the street of Florence or Rome. One day we will find  this classical Italian scooter, along with a Gondola, in a movie that takes places in Venice: it is a “must”. The same goes for other cultural objects. A dish of pasta has to be dressed  with tomatoes and some vegetables on top;  pasta (white), vegetables (green), tomatoes (red): the Italian flag. If you digit “pasta” on Google image, in 99% of the cases the above mentioned chromatic combination will appear. Italian women will be of course portrayed only as mothers or wives. The traditional Italian family (eating of course, with kids running all over the places) will be shown at one point or the other. We have one of the lowest fertility rate in the planet, but who cares. The movies has to fit the stereotype, or, better, the Grand Tour archetype: a traditional, authentic, genuine world.
Eat,Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia is a 2006 memoir by American author Elizabeth Gilbert.
“In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want--husband, country home, successful career--but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she felt consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and of what she found in their place. Following a divorce and a crushing depression, Gilbert set out to examine three different aspects of her nature, set against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence” (Goodreads, check the Community Reviews)
The film adaptation (directed by Ryan Murphy, starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem) was released in theaters on August 13, 2010. You can read the NYT review Globe-Trottingand Soul-Searching, by A. O. Scott, I was not able to understand what the journalist was trying to say, may be you can.
Here you can find a positive review of the movie Happymeals: Roberts shines as a divorcee on a journey to find herself: 
“By far, the section set in Italy is the movie’s best — and not simply because of the food or the joy Roberts shows in eating it. Murphy surrounds Liz with Italians who tutor her in both the language of words and the body. This is the movie in which Roberts finally learns to use her hands. Luca Argentero, Tuva Novotny, Andrea Di Stefano, and the marvelously rotund Giuseppe Gandini play her circle of friends. And it’s fun watching Roberts out of her element acclimating to strangers as expressive as she is”.
And here a negative review  Eat, pray, hurl!: 
“Nunsense! In search of self, Julia Roberts instead discovers the healing powers of gelato in Rome… A year-long, around-the-world quest for self-fulfillment that basically goes nowhere, “Eat Pray Love” is a very shallow, very glossy 2½-hour travelogue starring a miscast Julia Roberts as a spoiled, self-centered divorcée who decides to get away from it all”.
In Rome Julia Roberts…
Learning the art of doing nothing (Dolce far Niente)

Appreciating the amazing sound of the Italian word ‘attraversare’…

 Hands gestures of course

 Eating spaghetti with aria

The philosophy of Pizza, Love and Jeans in Naples…

Let’s end with the clip “Dets Ammorei”:  mainly romantic  movies with Italian locations: playing with the clichés of Olive Garden.

And below the Olive Garden, by Cinnamon J. Scudworth – See also the interesting project TVTropes

Olive Garden
"Maybe we could have dinner! Perhaps the Olive Garden! It's like dining in the private kitchen of a delightful Italian stereotype!"
Italy, mostly known for its food and the fat mustachioed guys who prepare it. There are only two cities in Italy, Rome and Venice. Neither city seems to contain a single building constructed after the 17th century. Rome is heavily populated by gourmet chefs, effete fashionistas and handsome, Vespa-riding homewreckers all too eager to give young female tourists a romantic ride past the Trevi Fountain — oh, and most famous landmarks are within five minutes of each other, too. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is usually found here as well, as opposed to, you know, in Pisa.
Venice, meanwhile, is chock full of handsome, gondola-riding homewreckers all too eager to give young female tourists a romantic ride under the Bridge of Sighs. Either way, men: if your wife or girlfriend steals away on one of these intimate little tours, you're probably flying back home byyourself. Sorry you had to hear it from us.
Apparently, Tuscany has swallowed up the rest of the country, as all the surrounding countryside consists of tomato farms and vineyards. If anybody's got any kind of sound system, expect to hear it blasting either "Funiculì, Funiculà", "O Sole Mio", "Santa Lucia" (all Neapolitan songs) or some famous Giuseppe Verdi aria.
Female Italians are usually dark haired beauties, feisty and wildly slutty, yet for some reason are also very faithful and jealous of their man. In other words, Spicy Latinas through and through.
Expect plenty of Gratuitous Italian.
There's also a dark side to this idyllic country: the time-warped post-war black-and-white Italy that somehow survived till today, directly from neorealistic movies. It's a dangerous and unhospitable country mostly populated of black clad old women that speak quietly and make emphatic gestures, act as superstitious yet religious fanatics, and still don't own a TV set or a vehicle. The only intelligible words these creatures seem to be able to communicate is some distorted provincial dialect like "goomba", and they still claim to vote for Mussolini (Well, you still can...). The remaining population of dark Italy is composed of dark skinned and dark haired (almost Indian looking) scoundrels, good-for-nothing or whores.
In a twist of supreme irony, the whole American continent was discovered by an Italian sailing under the flag of Spain; rather than coming from Rome or Venice said Italian came from Genoa, the sailing/merchant republic which destroyed the Pisans (yes, them of the leaning tower) and scared the Venetians shitless in several naval battles (back in the day when they went around in heavily armed galleys rather than gondolas, defeating Venetians was an achievement to be proud of, like sinking the U.S. Navy). Contrary to the more popular Italian tropes Genoese are famed to be a surly bunch of seldom-smiling, understated, humorless fellows, disdaining songs and dances and preferring pesto to tomato on their pasta; they also have an unjustified reputation of being stingy.
Following a rather lacklustre performance in WW 2, the Italian armed forces are popularly regarded as a bunch of Chianti drinking surrender monkeys, even if their previous and later performances were never as bad as that one.
The trope is named after an American chain of casual dining restaurants.
See here for info on the real country.