“Any given Christmas” in Italy, part 2

A few days ago we posted an article about an hilarious viral video-parody of Christmas in Italy seen by the most famous italian movie directors. The clip turned out to be part of a viral campaign about a new Christmas comedy called, surprise surprise! “Ogni maledetto Natale”.

The movie is out in cinemas in these days: it’s a story about a young couple, Massimo and Giulia. They fall in love at first sight, and, after few days, she invites him at her home for the Christmas dinner.
Massimo is not happy to attend to what he sarcastically defines “the scariest moment of the year”. But Giulia persuades him and Massimo ends up to spend that “sad” eve with the whole Colardo family, a household of rednecks who look just like cavemen in terms of elegance and gracefullness.The second part of the movie is set at Massimo’s house, where his wealthy family – the Marinelli Lopes clan – is preparing to have Christmas Lunch.

Traditonal capitone

Traditonal capitone, a kind of delicious eel often eaten in Napoli during Xmas lunch.

It’s worthy, at this point, to spend two words about this event. I mean, Christmas Lunch in Italy. It’s not a normal lunch, and it’s not a normal Christmas lunch (I was not using the capital letter for “lunch” by chance). Every Italian region has got its tradition about this meal: from Val d’Aosta, where faraona arrosto is the king dish, to Napoli, with spaghetti alle vongole, mixed fried fish and capitone, and to Palermo, with tipical sfincione and its thousand desserts; but the characteristic that connects them all is that none of the tablemates is able to leave the table before 7 pm.

But let’s come back to our movie. Surprise! Massimo’s relatives are performed by same actors who played Julia’s ones, obviously in diametrically opposite roles, but creating the same atmosphere of collective madness.

The movie, written and directed by the trio Ciarrapico, Torre, Vendruscolo, authors of successful sit-comedies based on the world of film productions, Boris, and features stars of Italian comedy such as Valerio Mastandrea and Caterina Guzzanti. An irreverent Christmas comedy mixing clever pathos and satire, with a certain charge of social criticism and some incisive characterization, such as the role of the Filipino butler, played by Corrado Guzzanti, who reminds mister Yunioshi in “Breakfast at Tiffanys”.

That said, don’t lose your opportunity to make a good laugh on Christmas and learn some Italian traditional expressions while watching this movie!

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

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Nino Manfredi, a Roman Legend

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From November, 13th to January, 6th Palazzo Braschi will host a must-see exhibition about Nino Manfredi’s life and works.

Nino Manfredi (1921-2004) was one of most important and popular actors of Italian cinema. He achieved fame as a character actor, personifying many tipical figures of the Eternal City, both of the present and of the past time: he played the role of the roman satyrical poet Pasquino in the historical movie Nell’anno del Signore, directed by Luigi Magni, and was a corrupt policeman in Fausto Tozzi’s Trastevere. But, although his fame seems to be closely linked to his Roman origins, troughout his long career he proved to be able to perform in severalNino_Manfredi_-_La_panzanella vernacular idioms: in Ettore Scola’s masterpiece Brutti, sporchi e cattivi he played the role of Giacinto Mazzatella, a pugliese immigrant living in the dreary and depressing scenario of the roman slums of the early 70s; moreover, his performance of Tuscan Geppetto in Luigi Comencini’s TV adaptation of the immortal novel Pinocchio is commonly judged as unforgettable. Being a singer and a director too, he recorded some famous hits in Roman dialect, such as Tanto pe’ canta’, and directed the autobiographical movie Per grazia ricevuta.

To celebrate tenth anniversary of his passing, his family arranged a traveling exhibit with videos, unreleased snapshots from his movies, soundtracks and a documentary, directed by his son Luca, to retrace career and private life of this great artist. The exhibition integrates a set of initiatives which are being held throughout Italy.

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

Italy lands on a comet!

After 10 years spent in the deep darkness of interplanetary space through the Solar System, yesterday the Rosetta spacecraft successfully landed on comet 67p/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Rosetta is the first mission designed to both orbit around a comet and deposit a lander on its surface. Thanks to the small lander named Phylae, it will be possible to catalogue the elements and the molecules contained in the comet’s dust, and by analyzing these samples to go back to life’s origin.
This is an exquisitely European pride, since European Space Agency (ESA) managed the mission, but Italy played its role with Project Manager Bruno Gardini and Enrico Flamini, who leads scientific programs of Italian Space Agency.

“Ambition” is a short movie that celebrates this prestigious event. Directed by Tomek Baginsky and starring Game of Thrones’ actor Aidan Gillen, this stunning sci-fi work was screened on October 24th during the British Film Institute Celebration of Sci-Fi.


Below is the first picture taken before landing:

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Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

Vintage shopping in Rome

About one week ago, all over the world newspapers brought news about Sarah Jessica Parker doing shopping.

I can totally imagine your reaction: “What’s new? She’s a notorious fashionist, she always appears in pics with huge branded shoppers, wearing huge sunglasses, going in and out expensive boutiques, that’s what she does best! Probably even better than acting!”

She looks indeed like a horse. No discussions about that.

She looks indeed like a horse. No discussion about that.

Let me get through with the sentence: she was doing shopping right here, in Rome, and not on posh via Condotti, or in a luxurious Bulgari’s boutique near piazza di Spagna. And no, she was not going to buy neither a horse saddle, nor a pair of reins, not even some hay. Miss Parker has been seen walking around in the via Sannio market, not far from San Giovanni metro station, looking for vintage clothes and bags. Here’s what you might not know: via Sannio is one of two popular roman markets, it’s open every morning, except on sunday, and it’s perfect place where to find second hand clothing, 60’s accessories, and old stage costumes… at an absurdly cheap price.

Porta Portese is not just for second hand clothing. You can find a masterpiece if you dig deeply enough...

Porta Portese is not just for second hand clothing. You can find a masterpiece if you dig deeply enough…

Instead, if you prefer to go hunting for clothes on sunny sunday, Porta Portese market, in Trastevere, is right place to find vintage and new stuff at cheap prices, military unifom and war memorabilia, antique furnitures and records.

So, since you finally achieved the blessing of our trendy friend Sarah Jessica Parker, you can now vent your passion for second hand market without appearing uncool.

Don’t forget your wallet, and have fun!

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

Halloween Suggestions

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever"

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever”

Great news: Halloween is coming! Even though this is not properly a traditional italian holiday, in the past few years Romans seemed to enjoy the celebration. Here are some gloomy places to spend you Halloween at.

Firs of all, the Protestant Cemetery, near the Piramide Cestia: the whole complex was built in Eighteenth century to allow not-catholic people – who couldn’t be buried neither Catholic churches nor in consecrated ground – to get eternal rest under the pyramid’s shadow. Afterwards even comedians, dancers and artists got their graves in this peaceful and fascinating place oddly located in the noisy heart of the city.

The entrance of Monumental Cemetery Verano: hundreds of roman generations are buried here...

The entrance of Monumental Cemetery Verano: hundreds of roman generations are buried here…

Get a walk in this pleasant place, which is not only for dark souls, but for everyone in love with art and literature. Illustrious names are inscribed on tombstones in gothic and neoclassic style: Romantic poets Shelley and Keats’ remains are laying here, very close to English actress Belinda Lee; Italian politician and philosopher Antonio Gramsci rests in that ground, with Italian writer Carlo Emilio Gadda and American poet Gregory Corso; the cemetery also hosts a large cat colony.

If you instead prefer extend a greeting to stars of Italian cinema, you can visit the Verano monumental cemetery, burial place for at least twenty centuries, situated on via Tiburtina: right there, under the cypresses, you can find graves of famous actors, among others, Alberto Sordi and Vittorio Gassman, and director Roberto Rossellini’s. You also can join one of several free guided tours to discover this amazing open-air museum.

The astonishing ossuary hosted by Cappuccini's Crypt.

The astonishing ossuary hosted by Cappuccini’s Crypt.

Lastly, in order to round this horrific journey off, you have to visit Capuchins’ Crypt under Santa Maria Immacolata church, alongside via Veneto. This spooktacular chapel is decorated with bones of some 4000 Capuchin friars, collected between XVI and XIX century: patterns of stars and flowers, a clock and even a chandelier, everything is bones-made! And some mummified friars’ corpses in their ancient vests gaze at you, with their empty eyes…

So, what are you waiting for? Instead of locking yourselves inside of an irish pub with your friends and getting the worst hangover of your lives, why don’t you try to celebrate Halloween in an original way while discovering some hidden (and scary) part of the city?

Have a Happy Halloween and… stay scared!

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.