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Fabio Rossi Università di Messina ( [email protected] ). Erasmus IP: IRIC L’immagine riflessa, l’immagine costruita La Sicilia nei media Elementi di storia del cinema internazionale. Bondanella, Peter 2004: Hollywood Italians. Dagos, Palookas, Romeos, Wise Guys, and Sopranos .

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Fabio RossiUniversità di Messina([email protected])

Erasmus IP: IRICL’immagine riflessa, l’immagine costruitaLa Sicilia nei media

Elementi di storia del cinema internazionale


Bondanella, Peter 2004:

Hollywood Italians. Dagos, Palookas, Romeos, Wise Guys, and Sopranos.

New York etc.: Continuum


The Black Hand: True Story of a Recent Occurrence in the Italian Quarter

of New York, 1906, Wallace McCutcheon


Casella, Paola 1998: Hollywood Italian.

Gli italiani nell’America di celluloide, Milano: Baldini & Castoldi

“American movies which portray Italian community, or describe Italian characters, are so numerous that they form an individual cinematographic genre” (Casella 1998:15)


“The Italian character in the yankee cinema is still quite often connected to the ‘four Ms’ stereotype: Mafia, Mother, Maccheroni and Mandolin” (Casella 1998:15)

“The Hollywood Italian gesticulates crazily and speaks loudly, adores pasta and his mother, maltreats all other women and he is genetically in tune; if he is not a criminal himself, he has at least some relatives inside the Mafia; he cries very often and is racist, vulgar, tasteless in dressing, irascible and violent” (Casella 1998: 15)


Pippa Passes; or, The Song of Conscience, 1909, David W. Griffith

The Italian, 1915, Thomas H. Ince and C. Gardner Sullivan

My Cousin, 1918, Edward José

Cobra, 1925, Joseph Henabery


Little Caesar, 1931, Mervyn LeRoy


Scarface,

Shame of a Nation,

1932, Howard Hawks


Goodfellas, 1990, Martin Scorsese

“To me, being a gangster was better than being president of the United States”


Cry of the City, 1948, Robert Siodmark


Bondanella, Peter 2004:

Hollywood Italians. Dagos, Palookas, Romeos, Wise Guys, and Sopranos.

New York etc.: Continuum


  • WOPS - DAGOES - GUINEAS

  • PALOOKAS

  • ROMEO or GUIDO

  • FAMILY and EVERYDAY LIFE

  • PARODY OF THE MAFIA


Prizzi’s Honor, 1985,

John Huston

The Sopranos, 1999-,

TV serial created by

David Chase


The Godfather, 1972,

Francis Ford Coppola


The Godfather,

Part Two, 1974, Francis Ford Coppola


The Godfather, Part Three, 1990, Francis Ford Coppola

“How can we let a criminal like that run our company! He’s got the map of Sicily on his face! Can’t you see? [...] He’s either a catholic or a mafioso!”


“I don’t like your kind of people. I don’t like to see you come out to this clean country, in oily hair, and dressed up in those silk suits, and try to pass yourselves off as decent Americans. I’ll do business with you, but the fact is that I despise your masquerade, the dishonest way you pose yourselves. You and your whole fucking family. (Michael answers to him:) Senator, we are both part of the same hypocrisy. But never think it applies to my family”


Who is “two times himself is also two times stranger” (Bettini, Maurizio (ed.) 1992: Lo straniero ovvero l’identità culturale a confronto, Roma etc.: Laterza: 6)


“I always wanted to use the Mafia as a metaphor for America [...]. I feel that Mafia is an incredible metaphor for this country. Both are totally capitalistic phenomena and basically have a profit motive” (Coppola in Bondanella 2004: 239-240)


Big Night,1996, Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott

Filippo Ottoni: “because Calabrian-Sicilian dialect on the screen is felt by now to be connected irreparably to the Mafia” (Casella 1998: 454)


“Ciao, bello!”

Moonstruck, 1987, Norman Jewson

“Buonanotte!”

“Ti amo!”


“How long do I have to wait? Quanto io devo aspettare?”

“Johnny, figghiu miu, veni cca, veni cca! Angora aju aspettari?”

“Finalmente, che brutta, signora!”

“Ah, finalmente, che brutto questo grigio!”

“Don’t stand directly under the sun. You’ve got a hat. Use your hat”


The Rose Tattoo, 1955, Daniel Mann


“I couldn’t speak nothing in English exept of love”

“Rimasi ammutolita fin dopo la notte del matrimonio. E dopo dissi soltanto amore”


“Serafina: Because you don’t study no civics, tonight.

Rosa: Don’t study no civics. Why do you talk like you just came over in steerage. This isn’t Sicily, mother, and you are not a baroness. You do sewing”

“Serafina: Perché sai di giurare il falso. E questo ti porta male.

Rosa: Ti porta male, ti porta male. Ti è rimasta la mentalità di una contadina siciliana. Quante storie, mamma! Tu non sei una baronessa. Sai solo cucire”


Marty, 1954, Delbert Mann


“She don’t look Italian to me. I don’t like her”


“You’re the classic self-hating Italian”

Mambo italiano, 2003, Émile Gaudreault

“Being gay and Italian is a fate worse than... actually there is no fate worse than being gay and Italian”

“Nino Paventi: How’d you get in here? The door was locked, the alarm system was on... Lina Paventi: Nino, I’m Sicilian”


  • “It’s a cultural thing: us Italians we leave the house either two ways. Married or dead”

  • “Things change. Family doesn’t”

  • “It’s not a democracy, it’s a family”

  • “It’s BIGGER... It’s FATTER... It’s not GREEK... and there’ll only be a wedding over mama’s dead body!”

  • “Very fanny... riotous... like my big fat gay Italian wedding”

  • “The slap: the end to the quintessential Italian melodrama”

  • “All hell breaks loose (Italian style of course!) and the battle lines are drawn as “tutta la familglia” goes to war”


Mickey Blue Eyes, 1999, Kelly Makin


“A taste of Tuscany”

“Traditional tomato passata, buffalo mozzarella and locally sourced Provolone cheese, finished with origano”

“Insalata di porcini e cavalo (Cabbage and Porcini Salad)”


“Risotto.

Our new bambino”


Director: Giuseppe Tornatore

Actress: Monica Bellucci

Music: Ennio Morricone


  • elegance

  • worship of beauty and good taste

  • tendency towards the arts

  • determination to work

  • religious bigotry

  • irrational traditionalism

  • difficulty of linguistic and cultural adaptation

  • machismo and cult of the family

  • extreme elasticity concerning civic and moral behavior

  • bad taste in dressing and rough habits

  • unseemly gesticulations

  • speaking too loudly

  • no respect of social conventions


Mac, 1992, John Turturro


sciumi→ fiume

scantari→ fare paura

sparagnari → lasciare


“La Sicilia offre la rappresentazione di tanti problemi, di tante contraddizioni, non solo italiani ma anche europei, al punto da poter costituire la metafora del mondo odierno” (Leonardo Sciascia, La Sicilia come metafora. Intervista con Marcelle Padovani, Milano, Arnoldo Mondadori, 1989 [I ed. 1979], p. 78)


THE END


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