il portale dell'ebraismo italiano

At the Movies

susanna-calimaniBy Susanna Calimani*

I had never done it before, but they say there is always a first time: I have watched twice the same movie at the cinema. The first time it was in Venice, my hometown, I was at the Venice Film Festival, there were 1409 people from all over the world and I paid the ticket; the second, it was here in Frankfurt, there were about 200 people, mainly Germans and Italians and I had a guest ticket.

The movie was indeed the same, but the audience was slightly different, and it was not just a matter of numbers. Burning Love (Pecore in Erba) was screened at the Lichter Film Festival last week, and being the director my friend, I felt a moral obligation to go: I could not just tell him I had watched his movie already, as he did at least 30 times more than me, and my excuse would have been shameless.

The movie is a delirious, hilarious and bold mockumentary about Leonardo Zuliani, an innate anti-Semite who –after years of repressed instincts- finally finds his way of expression and acceptance in the society. Alberto Caviglia (or maybe Cavaglia, as the presenter kept calling him) was clearly a bit nervous: he was curious about Germans’ reactions to the references to anti-Semitism and Nazism, about their way of dealing with such a delicate issue related to their close past, and -moreover- I had told him that Germans are pretty well known for their lack of humor. Truth is, he was not so worried: he was terrified.

But the showing of the movie went indeed very well, people in the projection room laughed out loud when they were supposed to, nobody left before the end, and no tomatoes or eggs have been thrown during the conversation with the director.
I am not all that sure that Germans feel free yet to laugh about Jews.
So Italians laughed, and Germans clapped.

*Susanna Calimani is a wandering economist, currently based in Frankfurt.