lunedì 20 aprile 2015

The courage to change. A review of Edoardo Falcone's film “Se Dio vuole”

by Olga Lenczewska

The Italian film “Se Dio vuole” [“If that’s what God wants”] came out in cinemas a few days ago. It has been directed by Edoardo Falcone, a screenwriter who decided to take on a new role of a film-maker. For the Italian cinematography, it was a good decision, because “Se Dio vuole” turns out to be the best of both artistic worlds – a very witty comedy that nevertheless addresses difficult and interesting problems.

Despite what one may infer just from reading the film’s title, the story presented by Falcone doesn’t openly and trivially indoctrinate towards Christianity. It merely shows how faith affects our lives in different ways and presents a vast scale of the ways in which the interaction of the atheists and the believers may proceed.

The film begins when the main character’s son, Andrea, confesses to the family he has decided to become a priest. To his father, Tommaso – a renown surgeon, a liberal and modern atheist who puts his career ahead of his family – this news is a hundred times worse than a possibility that his son is a homosexual. He immediately decides to investigate who “brain-washed” his son, unmask him (and thus Christianity) as fake, and bring Andrea back on the right track – which, obviously enough, means studying medicine.

In the meantime, Andrea helps his mother realise what she has known in her heart for a long time: that her life is empty and she is unhappy because of Tommaso’s ignorant attitude towards family, to which she, on the contrary, dedicated her whole life. She leaves the surgeon and moves out (but only to the maiden’s room), yet Tommaso is too busy “fixing” his son to deal with his marriage crisis. In fact, he has always believed in his clear and academic mind inherited only by his son, his daughter - similarly to his wife – being simple, rather shallow human beings, and has always been quick to judge his family members and co-workers.

When Tommaso finds out who inspired his son to enter the seminary, he starts spying Don Pietro, who is known as a charismatic priest who helps people in difficulties. As first, it seems that Tommaso has found something on him; he befriends him and attempts to find a proof that the man’s morality and altruism aren’t authentic and that his Catholic vocation is a cover for some dirty business. Don Pietro isn’t one of these people, though – his intelligence, optimism, tolerance, and authentic willingness to help Tommaso when the latter pretends he’s a poor, depressed man, start slowly getting to the surgeon. Quickly enough, Don Pietro finds out Tommaso’s secret – but instead of turning his back on him, the priest asks him for help at a construction of his new parish in exchange for not telling Andrea what Tommaso tried to do behind his back. At first, the surgeon hates wasting his precious time in a church, but gradually Don Pietro becomes his best friend and Tommaso asks him for advice – this time for real – concerning his family problems.

Don Pietro’s influence, alongside the fact that he doesn’t forcefully try to convince Tommaso to become a believer, changes the surgeon. He becomes less judgmental and more emphatic towards his co-workers in the hospital. Eventually, he also changes his attitude towards his wife and daughter, and thus get his life on the right track. When he finally feels ready to be honest with his son and tell him that becoming a priest will ruin his life, it turns out his son changed his mind long time ago and already has a girlfriend, which Don Pietro has been aware of.

It isn’t, therefore, Andrea’s vocation that is the object of the titular God’s will. It is the gradual transformation of Tommaso’s life that is really at stake here. The film ends with a profoundly symbolic scene: Don Pietro is hit by a car and dies despite the medical help he receives. The ‘physical’ life-saving procedure, in which Tommaso always believed, proves faulty, whilst the ‘spiritual’, or moral, life-saving practise, which he always neglected, has already worked inside of him.
Despite some rather standard plot solutions, the film manages to avoid banality. Don Pietro does not end up being operated by Tommaso, as one might have expected, and Andrea doesn’t enter the seminary, because his faith isn’t mature enough. Nor are we sure whether Tommaso actually started believing in God. And that’s because “Se Dio vuole” isn’t only about taking the “leap of faith” – it’s also about open-mindedness and the courage to change one’s attitudes and to become a better husband and father.

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lunedì 13 aprile 2015

Silvia, mexicana, estudiante de lengua, arte y cocina italiana en el Istituto Europeo

de Ilaria Gelichi

Silvia cuentenos sobre ustéd, de qué ciudad viene, a qué se dedica,…

Yo vivo en Guadalajara, en el occidente de México, pero nacì en la Ciudad de México. He estudiado Ciencias de la Comunicación y después estudié la licenciatura en Comercio Internacional y la Maestría en Mercado Técnico Global. He trabajado por más de 30 años en negocios internacionales; como profesora de universidad de materias de comercio exterior y en cursos para empresarios, de plan de negocios, desportación e importación.

¿Conocía Italia antes de llegar?

Si, conocí Italia hace muchos años, vine aquí hace más de 30 años. Vine a Florencia y fuí a Venecia: me gustó muchisimo y pensé en regresar.

¿Qué le llamó a estudiar la lengua italiana? Y cómo empezó?

La pasión por la lengua italiana es porqué me gusta mucho el país, las ciudades, el arte y toda la historia que tienen estas ciudades, especialmente el Renacimiento. Estoy segura que se comprende mucho mejor cuando comprendes la lengua, porqué no es lo mismo leer en otro idioma lo que ha sucedido.

¿Qué le gusta más de Italia y de Florencia en particular?

Me gusta mucho lo que se respira aquí, la atmosfera. Y también la antigüedad que se ve en todas partes al caminar.

Al llegar a la ciudad, ¿cuál fue su primera sensación?

Fue de emoción, de pensar que aquí habían estado muchos artistas y personas importantes del Renacimiento, que habían caminado aquí.

¿A qué cursos asiste en el Istituto Europeo?

Asisto al curso de lengua italiana, al curso de cocina italiana – que me gusta mucho - y en dos semanas empezaré un curso de historia del arte, en italiano. Entonces, por eso necesito comprender mejor la lengua. He tomado también dos clases de dibujo para tener una idea; lo he hecho en pasado y me gusta mucho, es una pasión que tengo. Hoy tengo clase de dibujo; es para compreder mejor también lo que aquí los artistas han hecho.

¿Cómo se siente en el Istituto Europeo? Cómo fueron sus primeros dias aquí?

Me siento muy bien, me encanta y agradezco mucho toda la ayuda que me han prestado. El departamento donde vivo, todo acerca de mi llegada, el taxi... Me he sentido muy bien. Todo ha estado muy bien gracias al Istituto Europeo.

¿Qué le han parecido las clases y los profesores, ha aprendido mucho?

Si, he aprendido mucho. La clase de la lengua italiana es muy intensiva, se avanza mucho todos los dias pero tiene que aplicarse mucho. Los profesores también me parecen bien en general. Ahora tengo tres semanas y me parece que he hecho un avanze: escribo algo y hablo. El curso de cocina también muy bien y el curso de pintura estoy encantada.

Respecto al ambiente de interculturalidad, ¿qué le ha aportado el convivir con personas de diversos países?

Me ha abierto muchas puertas y ventanas. Yo he estudiado Comercio Internacional y he estado en contacto con mucha gente de todo el mundo y me gusta mucho. El ambiente de interculturalidad me encanta. Yo pensé en venir a Florencia en principio a disfrutar la ciudad, pero me parece que esta opción es mucho mejor que estar sola en Florencia. Aquí he conocido gente de Japón, de Brasil, de Australia, con quienes hemos salido y tenemos amistad ahora.

¿Recomendaría esta experiencia en el Istituto Europeo?

La recomendaría ampliamente. Especialmente, no solo a jovenes sino también a personas mayores. Siempre se puede aprender algo nuevo.

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venerdì 10 aprile 2015

STREEAT, the first Food Truck Festival in Florence

Photo via
Are you a street food addicted? Then you cannot miss the first Italian food truck festival!
The 28 food trucks from all the corners of Italy will arrive to Florence from Rome this afternoon and will sell their specialties at Cascine Park until Sunday, April 12. Streeat will feature, among others, Chianina beef burgers, pizza, fried specialties from Naples and Sicily, pastries from southern and northern Italy, gelato and even veg food. Not only food, though: at Streeat you will also find deejay sets, entertainment for all, and food-centric lectures and debates. The food trucks will then continue their journey to Bologna, Sarzana, Milan an Padua. Check all the dates on the official website!

Where: Cascine Park, Florence
When: Friday 10 – Sunday 12, 2015
Opening hours: Friday 4:00 PM – 1:00 AM, Saturday and Sunday 11:00 AM – 1:00 AM

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venerdì 3 aprile 2015

Studiare l'italiano all'Istituto Europeo a Firenze: l'esperienza di Priscila

Priscila Braco
Priscila, raccontaci da dove vieni, quanti anni hai e cosa fai nella vita.

Mi chiamo Priscila Braco, ho 23 anni e sono brasiliana. Sono nata a San Paolo ma abito a Rio de Janeiro. Mi sono appena laureata in Amministrazione e vorrei partecipare ad un concorso pubblico per lavorare in un ufficio.

Com’è nata questa passione per la lingua italiana? Hai dei parenti italiani?

Il mio bisnonno era italiano, ma questo non è il motivo: conosco già l’inglese e volevo imparare un’altra lingua. Lo spagnolo non mi piace molto, il francese mi piace abbastanza ma l’italiano mi piace di più; mi piace molto il suono. Lo studio da un anno e mezzo.

Cosa ti piace di più dell’Italia?

Il cibo! Ma anche le città: la storia è dappertutto ed in ogni luogo c’è sempre qualcosa da sapere e da imparare. La storia in generale mi piace molto.

E’ la prima volta che vieni in Italia? Cosa ti piace di Firenze?

No, è la terza volta. Ho già visitato altre città ma la cosa che mi piace di Firenze è che si può andare ovunque a piedi, senza bisogno di prendere l’autobus o la macchina. E poi mi piace il fatto che sia piena di luoghi storici. Nonostante ci siano tanti turisti, è una città molto tranquilla dove vivere.

Che corso stai frequentando all’Istituto Europeo?

Sto frequentando un corso intensivo di lingua italiana di 4 settimane. Ho imparato alcune cose di grammatica che ancora non avevo studiato in Brasile, ma principalmente abbiamo fatto tanta conversazione e sono contenta perché non ho occasione di farla in Brasile. La nostra insegnante è stata molto flessibile, ci ha chiesto cosa volevamo migliorare e noi abbiamo chiesto di fare conversazione e lessico.

Hai trovato utile questo corso?

Sì molto. Soprattutto perché in Brasile quando esco dalla lezione parlo portoghese, invece qui in Italia quando finisco la lezione vado al ristorante o a casa e continuo a parlare italiano. Penso che per imparare bene una lingua si debba andare nel Paese in cui è parlata.

Consiglieresti ad un amico di studiare all’Istituto Europeo?

Sicuramente, mi sono trovata bene qui. Però consiglierei di venire per un periodo più lungo, ad esempio 3 mesi. Ho cercato di sfruttare al massimo il tempo, ma penso che 4 settimane siano comunque poche.

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