Saturday, 12 March 2011

Proiezione di Bellissima

On Friday 25th March at 6.00 pm in the Griffith lecture theatre there will be the screening of Bellissima, a 1951 neorealist film directed by Luchino Visconti

Runtime 115 minutes
Genre: Drama

Maddalena (Anna Magnani) is a screenstruck mother convinced of her daughter Maria’s (Tina Apicella) star potential. Dreaming of a better life for her family – as a means of escape from the struggles of everyday existence in working-class Rome – she invests everything, including her last penny, into the dream that her daughter will be discovered at an open casting. However, on overhearing the film crew’s candid assessment of her daughter’s audition (in what Variety described in 1952 as “one of the cruellest scenes ever filmed”) Maddalena is forced to reconsider her views on the film industry and its world of illusions.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Una citazione di Luigi Barzini

In the heart of every man, wherever he is born, whatever his education and tastes, there is one small corner which is Italian, that part which finds regimentation irksome, the dangers of war frightening, strict morality stifling, that part which loves frivolous and entertaining art, admires larger-than-life-size solitary heroes, and dreams of an impossible liberation from the strictures of a tidy existence

Friday, 4 March 2011


One of my best students, Douglas Corr, has recently sent me this email about Livemocha. His email was so thorough and the information so well explained that I thought it deserved to be reproduced "verbatim":

Dear Valeria,

I read about Livemocha in the buisiness pages of the Independent about 10 days ago, it was in an article about a business venture with Harper Collins.

It's roughly a sort of Facebook for language learning ( I think there are 35 languages!).

It has free functionality as well as stuff that you have to pay for. I have been investigating the free functions for Italian and German. It seems to me to be suitable for beginers up to around the level of our class, but I think there is possibly unlimited potential for conversation.

Basically there are:

* Written exercises
* Spoken exercises
* Flip cards
* Chat

The written and spoken exercises are marked by native speakers who are other learners and who select which ones they mark; this means you are not guaranteed to get your work marked (but see friends below).

You improve your status on the site by doing exercises and by marking exercises - you get a score and various awards.

To make progress you need to find others learning English so that they can help you and you can help them in return - these people become your friends. This helps you to get your things marked. So I tried to find Italians and Germans learning English, and I now have 12 friends! I marked so much stuff last week I became English Tutor of the Week! This will help to ensure that my requests to be a friend don't get rejected. I have had some very kind encouraging comments from people...

I haven't tried the Chat yet (with microphone); this seems to me to be potentially the most useful -although a bit daunting to start... My objective is to try this out before the end of March.

There seems to be a vast number of people from all countries learning English, especially from China, Portugal, Brazil, Spain, Roumania and Russia. There is a much smaller number learning German and less still learning Italian.

I'm sure you will find this an exciting learning tool for students.