Culture is served  July 2010

Frying Pans & Film

From the spaghetti with tomato sauce scene in “Un americano a Roma” to the Sicilian specialties pictured in “Baarìa” by Giuseppe Tornatore, a good film is also a question of taste.

“Il gusto nel cinema italiano e internazionale” - cover

“Cinema is not a slice of life, but a slice of cake,” said Alfred Hitchcock. Moviegoers don’t want to drown themselves in scenes from daily life, instead they prefer to surround themselves with the magical, the extraordinary. People want to taste a film, breath in its aromas and let its flavors dissolve in their mouths, leaving them with the desire to take another bite.

Ravioli ricotta e spinaci
Read More: Ravioli from “La Dolce Vita”

Here is a recipe for the ravioli seen in the film “La dolce vita” by Federico Fellini

More often than ever, filmmakers are producing movies about food, to be consumed with your eyes and your mind.
These films address the subjects like the difficulty of being a chef, the pleasure of dining in company, the passion for cooking, the pressure to make a successful dish, long conversations in restaurants, the sensuality of a dinner, the suspense of a recipe, the surprises of a family lunch and kitchen love stories.

There are many examples of food scenes in Italian films and many of the dishes represented on the sliver screen can be recreated at home.

Storie di cucina 2010
Read More: “Food Stories” 2010

All of the award-winning films from this year and previous years are can be watched on the site

Take, for example the pasta e ceci featured in “I soliti ignoti,” which was one of Marcello Mastroianni’s favorite dishes.
Or there is the roast chicken with rosemary in “Tutta la vita davanti.”
The dish is a symbol of values and tradition, almost an antidote to anxiety about the future in world of filled with uncertainty, portrayed by Paolo Virzì.
When it comes to dessert, who can forget the zuppa inglese in “Il piccolo diavolo” with Roberto Benigni and Walter Matthau.

“Food has always been one of the main characters in Italian cinema,” says Laura delli Colli, film critic from the Italian magazines published by Mondadori and author of various books, including ‘Il gusto nel cinema italiano e internazionale’ which is about the movie camera and the kitchen.

The book“It has represented both hunger, conviviality and culture.
In fact, in Italy more than anywhere else, food is an expression of emotions, flavors, desires, opulence and poverty both in good and bad days.
It has been used to portray the customs and traditions of our country, as well as velocity with which they are being abandoned.
Cinema has shown that traditionally food was enjoyed slowly and that now quality food has also become a business.”

“I think that cinema can do very much for Italian food culture. Film after film, decade after decade, it was food on the big screen more than in books that described the customs and the history of our country, according to the deep and steady changes of its culinary heritage.
Many of the writers, directors and actors have worked in famous films see food as something to be shared, something to be enjoyed through the big screen.
It goes without saying that some have done it more consistently and frequently than others: Ettore Scola, Federico Fellini, Pupi Avati, Marco Ferreri …How many kitchens have been portrayed in their films? How many secrets, how many intimate family moments have had a stove as a set?”
Laura Delli Colli

The journalist and author Laura Delli Colli

“In the ‘50s, the association of cinema with food was essentially connected with the people: it was the time of beach movies, dominated by watermelons and metal lunchboxes overflowing with rigatoni with tomato sauce.
Pasta and pizza dominated the screen in those years.
However, generation after generation, decade after decade, cinema has changed with changing tastes.
Historically, in the large kitchen depicted by Lina Wertmüller, especially when Sofia Loren is the cook, there is always a shot or a mention of meat sauce or mozzarella, of an eggplant parmesan or fried food.”

“Today one of the directors most interested in Italian food is Ferzan Ozpetek. He has a special wave to shoot and tell the human tale, as seen in ‘Le fate ignoranti,’  ‘Saturno contro’, or ‘Mine vaganti.’”
“Film and food share one of the five senses: taste. Who could deny that a good film is also an affair of taste?”

Mariagrazia Villa

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