"Che piacere rivederti!" We don't know where this Italian world is heading...but we'll worry about it after lunch and a nap. Maybe. "Only In Italy!"
Naples remains in the grip of a waste nightmare...What no comment that our favorite Prime Minister is reported to be promising a clean-up in 3 days? Did it happen...? Giovanni
Three days?! Ah, Giovanni, you're so cute when you act naive. Come on over to Italy so that we can cuddle you in our arms and tell you a couple of bedtime stories.
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
Rome - October 19, 2010 - The 11th edition of Italy's Big Brother kicked off Monday evening amid a storm about the presence of a mobster's son in the television reality show.
Ferdinando Giordano, the son of a member of the Naples Camorra mafia who died eight years ago, is among 16 contenders to make it through selection and the first night, which saw four participants axed. Giordano himself has not had judicial problems and makes an honest living as a shop assistant but that has not stopped a wave of outrage at him taking part on the popular show on Premier Berlusconi's Mediaset network.
"In this country, Mafiosi are in parliament and their children are celebrated on TV," said Sonia Alfano, the president of the National Association for the Families of Mafia Victims and an MEP with the opposition Italy of Values (IDV) party.
"It's shameful that the premier's television company has the son of a Camorra member take part to increase ratings".
Consumers association Codacons and Italy's Viewers and Listeners Association were also dismayed.
"It's not the presence of a contender with this family situation that we consider wrong, but the sensationalization of his relation to a Camorra member, which is obviously aimed at attracting the attention of the media and viewers," the two associations said in a joint statement.
"We wonder what regard has been given to the opinions of the relatives of Camorra victims and whether Big Brother's decision could hurt their sensibilities".
The show's presenter, Alessia Marcuzzi, defended Giordano's inclusion, saying "children should not pay for their father's sins".
Giordano, 30, echoed those sentiments during Monday's broadcast.
"My father made mistakes but I'm a different person," he said.
"I want to give some peace to my mother. She was the one who encouraged me to do the audition".
The row did not hurt the ratings of the first edition of this season's show, with almost six million tuning in, around 27% of the audience share.
The Italian edition of Big Brother, which is especially popular with young adults, is not new to controversy. In the past it has been accused of exploiting a blind contender and a transsexual to boost ratings, while there have also been storms about participants using bad language and doing allegedly indecent acts.
"In my opinion Big Brother does not represent Italy's young people in a way that I would like to see them reflected on television," Youth Minister Giorgia Meloni said Tuesday.
"We are working on this, with a festival of young Italian talent that will take place in November".
Naples spawned Ferdinando. It created him! Now it's too late. 'Big Brother' can't abandon a lonely mob child.
While the rest of the world is abandoning this stupid and boring reality show, Italy is still trying to shock its audience into tuning in. What is entertaining about watching the son of a mobster on a reality show? As if he is DeNiro. "Cornuti", we couldn't give a sheep's ass!
Look, he's from Naples. So, even though the 'Big Brother' house may seem crowded, Ferdinando will feel right at home because he's used to living with all his cousins in the same house. And it's not like the show is going to televise him committing crimes like shaking down the other contestants, starting a prostitution ring, taking over control of the food supplies, and illegally building additions to the house.
We'll be honest with our readers, we taped the first show just to see what all the hubbub was about. It was so awful we lasted only 5 minutes. We put it on fast-forward and it still went too slow. But we realize how we're supposed to watch most of today's Italian shows: You're supposed to be smashed out of your Italian minds.
After a few glasses of wine and/or grappa...then you'll understand and appreciate it.
Naples - October 19, 2010 - Clashes in Naples' latest rubbish crisis have escalated to "urban warfare", city police chief Santi Giuffre' said after another night of violence in which five people were arrested and three police officers hurt.
"We can't talk about skirmishes anymore, it's guerrilla warfare," Giuffre' said.
"There's an organization that is orchestrating the military phase of the attacks on the police," he claimed.
Asked about the prospect of tensions easing after an order to disperse waste in dumps rather than putting them in one that locals claim is toxic, Giuffe' said the situation was "not rosy" but the outlook was brighter for the first time in a month.
As well as raining stones on police and torching trucks, demonstrators on Tuesday stormed a mayor's office and climbed onto the roof of a town hall.
About 850 tons of uncollected refuse is lining the streets of Naples and the city's mayor, Rosa Russo Iervolino, has appealed to the government for help.
Those poor Napolitani. When they wake up each day, it must feel like the Bill Murray movie, "Groundhog Day". They relive the same garbage crisis over and over...and the Napolitani never change.
But the only reason why the outlook in Naples was brighter for the first time in a month is because the people are running out of bullets and Molotov cocktails, and beginning to storm public buildings like swat teams "alla Napoletana".
How is it possible that Naples cannot resolve it's garbage problem? Well, for starters, what do you expect from a typical Napolitano who flushes everything except the cat down the toilet and considers home recycling a cursed myth?
If you're a brave adventurer who is looking for the ultimate rush, sign up for the so-called "organization that is orchestrating the military phase of the attacks on the police" in Naples. Don't forget the mosquito net over your head and get the hell out of Naples as soon as 'Tarzan' gives the retreat signal:
"Minchia, me no help! Naples no safe!"
Rome - October 20, 2010 - Robert De Niro said he was hopeful his foreign language skills had not let him down after shooting his part in Italian romantic comedy "Manuale d'Amore 3".
In the film the Oscar winner is a divorced American professor who comes to Italy and falls in love with the beautiful daughter of his apartment block's janitor, played by Monica Bellucci.
"I already knew a little Italian, although it's more difficult when it comes to delivering lines," De Niro, who has Italian roots, told reporters.
"I hope I did a good job and that my part doesn't have to be dubbed over, because there's lots of humor in the fact that it's me speaking Italian".
The film is the third in a series by Italian director Giovanni Veronesi that has taken over 35 million euros at the box office so far. Production is about halfway through, although De Niro has finished his part in the film, which like the others in the franchise follows an unusual format made up of several distinct stories.
"I agreed to do this film because of Giovanni Veronesi," the 67-year-old actor said.
"I spoke to him on the telephone and he sent me the first two movies, which I thought were great, and he's a really smart guy.
"The other actors and I were on the same wavelength immediately. It's lovely to get back on the set and act with actors you have a good understanding with".
De Niro's appearance in "Manuale d'Amore 3", which is due to be released in February, was his first on an Italian set since he starred in Bernardo Bertolucci's 1976 epic "1900".
That film was also his only previous appearance in a foreign-language picture.
"Porca miseria", Robert is simply brilliant. What an actor! We came so close to believing he had a concern over his language skills in this Italian crap of a movie.
Ah, folks, we miss the good old days when truly brilliant directors like Fellini, Leone and Visconti were making memorable films that people still watch with pleasure to this day. Remember the films, '8 e Mezzo', 'La Dolce Vita', and 'Amarcord'? Brings a tear to the eye ("sniff").
The Italian movies in the theaters today are so pitiful, people should insist on paying again on the way out. "Ma che palle! Look, we saw no effort put into this film. As a donation, here’s an additional 7 Euros towards making a good one."
"Manuale d'Amore" (part 1) is a movie that is broken up into sections that tell stories about four Italian couples and the various stages in their relationships: falling in love, crisis, infidelity, breaking up. The end... "Cacchio", how original! We'll bet it's something you've never seen in the history of movies.
The scene-structure is not clear for most of the movie and you get the sensation the actors walk on to the set and are left to their instincts. So, they're left undirected, and therefore badly directed.
No, you don't get hooked, you barely laugh, a few yawns and you wait for it to be over so you can get on to more entertaining things like dusting the wine barrels in the cantina.
By the way, here’s how to become an Italian film director: "Eh, I'm not sure. What do you think you should do in this scene?"