Two-rooms and a kitchen better than a window on the Bosphorus??

Two-rooms and a kitchen is a local flavoured expression to describe Italian contemporary cinema (in my roman familiar dialect it will sound like “du’ camere e cucina”).

Why two-rooms and a kitchen movies have replaced Italian neorealism? Or, better said: why two-rooms and a kitchen movies have become the new Italian realism? As Italians, we have to ask ourselves why indoor claustrophobic familiar stories have become our daily life concern, instead of looking outside and going outdoor, as neorealism directors did teach us a while ago.

These days Italian media are unanimously applauding Italian movies at Venice film festival. Everybody seems to agree with the alleged fact that there is a re-birth of Italian cinema (a re-birth coming from a two-rooms and a kitchen delivery).

I am not a cinema expert but an eager “eater” of each kind of images. And these days I would have a question for Ferzan Ozpetek, a Turkish director who has been living in Italy for many years (and who’s now presenting in Venice his new movie Un giorno perfetto).

Turkey these days is a vibrant country in a great mood. And this great energy reflects on its audiovisual industry too.

As an Arab media watcher, I was charmed by the raising of the Turkish soap operas phenomena. Doubled in Syrian dialect, Turkish soap operas like Nour or Lost years are gaining an incredible audience success all across the Arab world. There are many reasons for this incredible boom –and many of them concerns some internal characteristics to Arab markets and Muslim societies- but I just would like to point out one thing which should be important for other countries, Italy too.

Though being tv works (which means serials), aimed at gaining audiences and ads time (which means commercially oriented), these soap operas have something more. They tell about a society which is in evolution, which is trying to bridge globalisation and local culture, progress and tradition, religious belief and liberalization, just as the charming Bosphorus river is bridging East and West in beautiful Istanbul. They are shoot in poor neighbours and luxury 5 stars hotels, in popular traditional coffee houses and brand new malls. They show the poorest working class and the richest one. They talk about illegal immigration and struggles against local and foreign mafia as well as foreign investments in the booming real estate industry in Istanbul. Their protagonists work in a cafeteria to pay their university studies or in the family fashion company just to have fun, drink champagne and go to trendy parties while they are making money indeed.

Why a clever Turkish director like Ferzan Ozpetek should do two-rooms and a kitchen movies instead of doing soap operas like these? I really don’t know. Maybe cause we still consider cinema as a work of art while tv is just a “bread-gaining” work? Maybe. But I don’t think so, especially when tv is well done.

And why our fellow Italian journalists (and all the media industry in Italy) are applauding the alleged re-birth of Italian movies inside this claustrophobic and self-referential space instead of going outside to see what’s happening in this big globalized world?

Maybe it’s because there are still stuck in two-rooms and a kitchen. And have lost the key to get out of it.

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6 thoughts on “Two-rooms and a kitchen better than a window on the Bosphorus??

  1. Hi donatella, let me say that i share partially your ideas concernig the italian two room an akitchen movies…but I dont see contraddiction with developing a mild socially oriented popular prduction…there are examples of interesting mediterranean “style” series or soaps : “cuentame”Spain e “raccontami” n a lot of productions starting from la Piovra, and the long lasting (I miss the title) soap on third channel made in Naples “il posto al sole…” A place under the sun” where unamployment, mafia and equality amongst genders. Emerged at same with feeling,love and romance…
    So there is a room for good enough productions and the results of two movies like “Divo” (about the history of powrful former prime minister sen. Andreotti is described intensively and coulorfully) and “Gomorra” (about organized delincuency in Naples an social reality behind) seem to promise.

  2. Massimo thanx a lot for your comment..You are right, we do have soap operas with social and political background in Italy too. As we do have movies like that. But they are not the “two-rooms and a kitchen” ones i was referring in the post! In my opinion there are too many movies of this kind..and our media are too much focused in applauding them, while they never look outside our “bel paese” to see what’s happening..

  3. In tacts I agree the point is the lack of interest and exchange of experiences due to scarce attention of media about the production of different countries…There are really few theatres where you can see other countries movies…and no place where operators can wache to new proposals…
    Proposals : an event about series aor sop operas within some italian festival ? Some initiative can be proposed to sky italy, or rai mediterranea, or rai by ather similar channels or televison chain ? Who knows ?

  4. Cara Donatella,

    grazie per la segnalazione del tuo blog. Ho letto il tuo nuovo post sulla miopia dei media italiani, tutti presi dagli ombelichi nazionali o da altre ancor meno interessanti parti del corpo. Condivido questa tua lettura, anche se Nur lo troverei – dovendo seguirlo non da professionista dei media – palloso quanto Un posto al sole. Ma è certo che il “media orientale” attualmente, come tu ben ci mostri, è tra i più vivaci.

    Io pure avevo iniziato a costruire un blog, ma per il momento l’ho lasciato affondare per mancanza di sufficiente impulso. Ti segnalo però un ning, un blog collettivo (è quello di una rivista elettronica di studi interculturali, Trickster), dove inserirò un feed al tuo. Tra l’altro, se ti andasse di prendere parte alle discussioni che si svolgono, o suggerirne altre, ti invito a iscriverti all’indirizzo http://intercultura.ning.com. Tra i temi dibattuti vi sono anche i social-network.

    Un abbraccio e a presto,

    Idris Albadufi (nome d’arte)

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