Tuesday, September 03, 2013


If George Clooney, doing what he does best, which is to look elegant and nonchalant at the same time, caused most of the excitement at the Venice Film Festival last week - let us be tolerant and ignore the fact that he probably didn't have a permit to pilot the water taxi - today there was, for me, a much more interesting visitor:

Regular readers will know that I have been following the fortunes of Italy's Integration Minister, Cécile Kyenge, a woman who has found herself facing the most outrageous prejudice since her appointment and who has done so with dignity and courage. It was nice, therefore, to see pictures of her looking happy and relaxed, in the company of her daughters, at the Festival.   

The Minister told ANSA,

"The cinema, with its special language that is capable of involving and touching us deeply, is important for integration and for changing people's attitudes towards migrants."

She attended a screening of Fred Kudjo Kuworno's 18 Ius Soli [Jus Soli - the "right of soil"], a film about the right to citizenship of immigrants' children who are born and brought up in Italy. [This is not an automatic right in Italian law and Miss Kyenge is campaigning to change that.]  

Speaking a few days before the start of the new academic year in Italy, Miss Kyenge also said that she believes that school is the place where a country's democratic values can be strengthened and that adults should protect the innocence of children, who do not see difference.

The Minister also saw the film Italy amore mio, directed by Ettore Pasculli. In this love story a Romanian girl in Italy finds herself torn between the two cultures but seeks self-expression in dance. President Napolitano has said that the film gives a good portrayal of the children of immigrants in Italy and that such children are a vital dynamic force in the country.

Asked what kinds of films she likes herself, Cécile Kyenge said that she prefers protest films and films from which you can learn new things. She also likes the films of the great comedian Totò because, she says, they make you laugh whilst helping you understand many aspects of Italian culture.

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