World Italian Language Week lines up cultural treat in Jeddah

Italian comedian Saverio Raimondo

:: The Italian Consulate in Jeddah has lined up a series of events until Wednesday to celebrate World Italian Language Week.

The consulate is holding this event for the fourth year in a row with different themes for each year. This year’s theme is “cinema” as there are expectations about theaters opening in the Kingdom soon.

Italian comedian Saverio Raimondo attended a press conference on Monday at the Italian Cultural Center along with Fabio Ferri and Biancaria Gismondi from Mondadori Education to discuss the celebrations.

The first day’s event featured a stand-up comedy show by Raymondo. The show was focusing on Italian comedy in general, and about Fantozzi, one of the most famous comedy characters in Italy.

Comedy is a “strange thing” to export to a foreign country, but it is also an important cultural experience.

The character of Fantozzi had such an important influence on the Italian language in a way that epitomizes the influence of cinema on a language. The second and third days of the event will be two “movie nights.”

An Italian movie with English subtitles will be screened, and then a Swiss movie in Italian, also with English subtitles, will be shown on the last day. All the events will be held at the Italian Consulate starting at 9:00 p.m.

The consulate has also prepared debates and seminars at the Italian Culture Center, the Italian School of Jeddah, Effat University and Dar Al-Hekma College.

“The beacon of Saudi youth is US culture, but our aim is to show that stand-up comedy does not only belong to the US. There is also an Italian way to have stand-up comedy,” said Italian Consul General Elisabetta Martini.

A seminar at Dar Al-Hikma Collage will held on Tuesday about the Italian entertainment industry, and on how to start a career in the entertainment field.

“This is something very important for Saudi Arabia because they just started to focus more on entertainment businesses and entertainment as a job creator market,” Martini added.

“Italy is a cultural superpower and it is eager to contribute to the implementation of Saudi Vision 2030 also as far as the creative industry is concerned,” said the consul general.

The series of events are sponsored by End Consumer, Creative Marketing Solutions, Bin Zagger Company, Al-Bilad Hotel and Al-Danoub Market.

Ferri from Mondadori Education underlined that Italian is a European language spoken in Italy and Switzerland. And it is the fourth most studied foreign language in the world.

“Italy has always been at the crossroads of trade and this is why many Arabic words were adopted into Italian,” he said.

The aim of the initiative is to “underline what unites the Arabic and Italian cultures — not what divides us, namely creativity and common words,” said Martini.

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