And if the pastafrom a simple daily food on Italian tables, became a symbol cult of an entire country? The answer is that it is not only possible, but also that it has become a reality thanks to Italian cinema. A characteristic, social, ethnic, cultural, customary sign, a real “trademark” which, during an American film, makes one exclaim: “here is a plate of spaghetti, here is Italy!”. Of this and not only we charge thecollective imagination linked to pasta, a simple representation of reality that can hide well-being as well as poverty. Just like in Poverty and Nobility (1954).
There are many directors who have made pasta the undisputed protagonist of their films, imprinting on film scenes destined to be part not only of the cinema historybut also of our culture. Sometimes surreal, others of everyday life, in any case scenes that we have lived, dreamed, loved or desired. Here are some.
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“Sunday in August” by Luciano Emmer (1950)
And pasta dish can it become a nostalgic testimony of an Italy that no longer exists? It happens precisely in this film, considered a precursor of pink Neorealism, which narrates the daily life of a popular Rome. Its inhabitants, ready to leave for Ostia, are not lacking in love, economic worries and a few lies that seem to vanish right in front of a plate of spaghetti by the sea. There hope of a proletarian family it is enclosed in a plate, the symbol of a sweet naive Italian melancholy.
“An American in Rome” by Steno (1954)
How to forget Alberto Sordi and his “Maccarone… you provoked me and I destroyed you”, one of the most famous jokes in the history of Italian cinema. In this film Sordi plays Fernando Moriconi, known as Nando, who in every way will try to wear the clothes of a Roma a little too influenced by American tastes. She will do just about everything, from her accent to her dress, but she will quickly realize that nothing is like the tradition of her home country. After all, it’s not so bad to be Italian. And off to a juicy one plate of macaronibecause better than the American dream there is only the Italian dream!
“Misery and nobility” by Mario Mattoli (1954)
IS Toto the protagonist of the film, a poor scribe from Naples named Felice Sciosciammocca who, together with a photographer friend of his, has to pretend to be an aristocrat and relative of a marquis to make ends meet. This is where pasta comes into play: in a scene from the film, Felice catapults herself onto a steaming plate of spaghetti and is so hungry that she even eats it with her hands. A Gtasty plate of pasta it can be an enormous source of happiness for a poor person, just as Totò demonstrates by starting to dance a tarantella shortly after. It’s just the little things that make us happy, and what more than a delicious plate of pasta?
“The Usual Unknowns” by Mario Monicelli (1958)
Not only pasta, but also soups are inevitable in movies. It is the case of comedy by Monicelli, one of the most significant in the panorama of Italian cinema. The story tells of the misadventures of a group of petty thieves who come up with a plan to rob the Monte di Pietà. The desire to redeem a life of failures and failures will not be enough to make things go well, but it is precisely at this moment that pasta comes into play: the protagonists find themselves in the wrong apartment but it will be the pasta and chickpeas advanced to raise spirits. Even if everything goes wrong, the important thing is to have a full stomach.
“We loved each other so much” by Ettore Scola (1974)
Few films like this manage to portray in such a way comical and bitter simultaneously, the story of three former partisan friends who have lost intellectual momentum over the years. They seem to feed only on regrets and cynical realism, but time stops when they find themselves at the table in the restaurant “Dal re della mezza portion”. A pasta dish it is the background to a merciless assessment of their lives, to a generation that has failed. Yet, this dish means something bigger to them: a newfound friendship.
“The Postman” by Michael Radford and Massimo Troisi (1994)
In honor of Massimo Troisi, one cannot fail to mention the “spaghetti alla Mario Ruotolo”. The protagonist of the film, Mario, now Pablo Neruda’s ex personal postman, remembers his poet friend with nostalgia and helping his wife Beatrice in the kitchen of the family tavern, prepares the spaghetti with sauce of artichokes. There is no shortage of poetic descriptions, because poetry can also be an ingredient in the kitchen. Once again, a plate of pasta becomes a symbol of friendship and of an Italy that believes in important values.