The novel Per il bene che ti voglio is a story about italian immigration to the States during the 30’s.
Now in its fourth printing, the novel speaks of the bittersweet experiences of the protagonist Antonio Bevilacqua as he emigrates from Lucca, Italy to San Francisco.
Some parts of the novel are written in ITALIESE: this is a hybrid of English and Italian. Italian immigrants adapted English words and phrases into their spoken Italian with results both curious and amusing. The book includes a dictionary which gives definitions of Italiese words used.
The novel has reported a considerable interest: the author presented the book all over Italy, invited by several bookshops, institutes of culture, museums of emigration.
Oggi ho visitato i luoghi del film di Hitchcock Vertigo (La donna che visse due volte), girato a San Francisco e dintorni. Indimenticabile la scena del tentativo di suicidio di Kim Novak nei pressi del Golden Gate Bridge, con il salvataggio di Scottie.
L’ Empire Hotel, oggi Vertigo Hotel, dove viveva Judy Barton.
L’abitazione di Scottie, in Lombard Street.
Le scena del campanile si trovano alla missione di San Juan Batista, diverse miglia a sud di San Francisco.
Gli operai addetti alla manutenzione del Golden Gate devono difendere il ponte dal salmastro, perché il vento della baia sibila, grata e corrode. Gli operai raschiano via la vernice e poi tingono e ritingono ininterrottamente i cavi, i piloni, la struttura del ponte. Partono da una sponda della baia e nel giro di un paio di mesi arrivano dall’altra parte. Poi tornano indietro e ripartono. Ed è così che funziona, avanti e indietro.
Tony was summoned by United Artists for an audition. On that morning he expected to be asked to dance and sing, or to be given a script for a few lines. But he wasn’t. He had to stand in a square in front of a shed, where a rough small set for the audition had been quickly set up. They told him to do nothing but come along and stay still. A couple of lights on tripods shot him in the face. Two men turned around him with a measuring tape. They measured his chest circumference, the length of his arms, his shoulders, the distance between his chin and the camera placed in front of him.
They said “Good, good” and told him to go and change his clothes. They showed him in a tiny cubbyhole that was supposed to be the dressing room. He put on a pair of baggy pants. If He tied them with a rope. He booted huge crude clogs.
They looked like the ones he used to wear when he acted in the “Maggi”: all worn out, dance after dance. But he had to wear these ones Only that these here told him to wear them the wrong way – the right foot on the left shoe, the left on the right – and keep them loose. Then he put on a skinny frock coat. The buttons almost did not come to the buttonhole. When he came out,he was given a flexible stick, a bowler hat on the head and mustache whittled up to make a little black square under his nose.
These seven or eight guys looked him for a while, turning around him. Then they left and stood aside watching him and muttering, with their arms crossed. They brought him in front of the video camera. They told him to smile, and – while smiling – to raise the left eyebrow and shrug. Yes, the dimpled in his cheeks made “the comma”. Everything matched perfectly. It was a small miracle, one of those that happen so often in the world
of cinema. He was exactly what they were looking for. “So good”, They said again.
So, Antonio was hired by United Artists as a stand-in for Charlie Chaplin.
In una zona abbastanza appartata rispetto alla Downtown, Distillery District è uno dei quartieri più interessanti di Toronto.
Goggio Lecture in Toronto (University of Toronto, march 17, 2016)
Giovedì 17 marzo 2016. University of Toronto. Department of Italian Studies.
Ho presentato il romanzo anche attraverso una serie di immagini, soprattutto relative ai luoghi di origine del mio personaggio: la Garfagnana, Fabbriche di Careggine, il lago. Al termine del mio discorso, è seguito un dibattito con i presenti. Soprattutto si è parlato di italiese, visto che, all’interno del Dipartimento di Italian Studies
dell’Università di Toronto figura il Frank Iacobucci Centre for Italian Canadian Studies, che si è occupato proprio di questa “lingua della sopravvivenza”.
Il Dipartimento di Italian Studies ha realizzato il “G.P. Clivio online Dictionary of Italiese”.
Qui con il Direttore del Dipartimento, Prof. Salvatore Bancheri (Emilio Goggio Chair in Italian Studies, University of Toronto)
Concezione agonistica degli hamburger, in tutte le loro infinite varianti. In questo locale i nomi dei panini erano particolarmente aggressivi.
Anche se, a Toronto, soprattutto pare doveroso circolare con un bicchierone di carta che contiene “caffé americano”, coperto da un tappo che ha un apposito buco da cui spunta la cannuccia. Mi hanno raccontato di schizzi di caffé ovunque durante brusche e inattese frenate sui bus.
Circa il caffé, Starbucks ovviamente.
In the late Twenties, Antonio Bevilacqua leaves the environs of Lucca, in hopes of an acting career in the off-Broadway theatres of San Francisco.
He comes from Fabbriche di Careggine, a little village in Garfagnana, the mountain region of Lucchesia (Tuscany).
Now Fabbriche di Careggine lies on the bottom of a lake after the construction of a dam. The dam has dammed the waters of the Edron river, creating an artificial lake. The town was evacuated. Every ten years the lake is drained for maintenance works on the dam. The ghost town emerges from the water.
In San Francisco Antonio comes into contact with the art world which centres on such figures as Ferlinghetti.
He is a DAGO, a CHIANTI, an ITHAKER.
For a time Antonio moves to Hollywood, where he is employed as a stand-in for Charlie Chaplin.
In the meantime, Antonio transformed himself into ‘Tony Drinkwater’ (the literal translation of his name)
He seems, therefore, to have found his ‘Merica’ of the ‘muvinpicce’ – a term derived from the English ‘moving picture’.
Tony speaks ITALIESE, an awkward yet somehow poetic half-English half-Italian pidgin used by the Dagos. For example, he says “giobbo” (from job), “stritta” (street), “corno” (corner), “sciumecca” (shoes maker).
In language as in life, Antonio Bevilacqua inhabits a no-man’s land between what he once was and what he has not yet become.
When Antonio goes back in Garfagnana, he is seen by villagers as an “american monster”. A reintegration is not possible anymore.
All’Università di Toronto, Dipartimento di Studi Italianistici, per la Goggio Lecture.
Il manifesto realizzato dalla University of Toronto per la Lecture.