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Italian is a language spoken by dubbers, a lecture on Italian language and cinema by Caterina D’Amico



Italian is a language spoken by dubbers, a lecture on Italian language and cinema by Caterina D’Amico

Under the High Patronage of the President of the Italian Republic


Italian cinema relinquished Italian literary language back to the shelf. Its role as a guardian of the language was handed to television, where Italian films in which dialect is prominent are still excluded from programming.

Caterina D’Amico, Director of the Centro di Cinematografia Sperimentale in Rome will show us how Italian cinema changed and shaped the Italian language, in a lecture on movies by Vittorio De Sica, Mario Mattòli and Lina Wertmüller.

In 1930, when the first Italian sound film was released, cinema became one of the primary means for spreading the Italian language through a country where the overwhelming majority of inhabitants spoke ancient, highly structured dialects.

Adhering to the rules set by Fascist regime in the ‘30’s, Italian cinema showed the country not as it was, but as it was supposed to be: an ordered, content society, filled with healthy ideals. The predominant genres in Italian cinematography between 1931 and 1945 were light comedies, melodrama and some epics for propaganda purposes. The actors in these films were theatre actors, who spoke with perfect, and at times, even contrived, diction. Dialect was strictly banned.

At the end of the war, a free Italy saw the emergence of a cinematographic style that overturned the dominant aesthetics: it was the birth of neorealism.

In Paisà, a true manifesto of the new Italian cinema, Roberto Rossellini shows the country as it was, not as one might want it to be. The result was a film that was somewhat messy and disheveled like reality, where the dialogue was spoken in a mosaic of languages and dialects that restore a real pulsing humanity. From that moment on, examples of ambitious films that made strong, casual use of dialect were countless: from Visconti, to De Sica, Rosi, Petri, Amelio, Olmi, Tornatore, Garrone — all international successes.

Meanwhile, out of the rib of neorealism, Italian-style comedy was born.

Today the big eternal themes like hunger, power, redemption, the art of getting by, and cunning are told by new masks that use dialect as a combat weapon. Dialect takes on a different value because it is representative of reality. It is added to the character as a costume, as make-up, an added element to define a character, to describe his/her geographical and social history. And so, while the actor of the past scrupulously removed any dialectical inflection, today’s actor preserves it, highlights it, learns it, and even invents it.


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Caterina D'Amico

Born in Rome, Caterina began her career working as a theatre company director from 1972-1976, and during that time produced sixteen plays in Rome. Up until 1980 she also worked for seven years with the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto (Italy) and Charleston (USA), where she alternated between the technical and the artistic departments.

Caterina has written and directed several TV programs, which include portraits of performing artists (such as Luchino Visconti – in eight episodes – and Vittorio Gassman – in six episodes). She has written articles and essays published in Italy and abroad, and several books including the survey in two volumes, Visconti – Il Mio Teatro, which is still considered the most important study ever published on Visconti as a theatre director.

Since 1976 she has conceived, designed and curated thirty-four exhibitions on themes related to the performing arts, which have been held in Italy, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Greece, Portugal, USA, Canada, Argentina, Japan. She was also in charge of the exhibition catalogues, many of which are considered monographies in their own right. Several of her major exhibitions were devoted to design and fashion. She has also organized and directed film retrospectives in Italy and abroad.

From September 1988 to August 1994 Caterina was General Delegate of the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (the Italian state Academy of Cinema and the Italian National Film Archives). From October 1993 to May 2000 she was the coordinator of GEECT (Groupement Européen des Ecoles de Cinéma et de Télévision), an Association that represents sixty distinguished European schools. From 1999 to 2007 she was Head of Studies of the Scuola Nazionale di Cinema (National Film School). In May 2000 she was elected President of CILECT (Centre International des Ecoles de Cinéma et de Télévision), the International Association of Film schools. Caterina was also the founding member and President of the “Théatre des Italiens” Foundation, which was active in Rome and Paris from 1998 – 2003. 

In July 2007 Caterina was appointed CEO of Rai Cinema. Since January 2013 she is again Dean of the Scuola Nazionale di Cinema of the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia.



Data: Mar 17 Ott 2017

Orario: Alle 19:30

Organizzato da : Italian Cultural Institute

Ingresso : Libero


Embassy of Italy