Labor amoris and a dedication

Above: This labor amoris is dedicated to the one I love.

The first exam I took at the University of Padua in 1988 was History of the Italian Language, with Professor Gianfranco Folena (1920-1992), one of the great linguists and philologists of the twentieth century. (The exam was on Parini’s Il giorno and 18th-century Italian neologisms.) He was the first to encourage me to continue my studies in philology and he wrote me the reference letter that ultimately won me my fellowship and teaching position in the graduate studies program at the Department of Italian, U.C.L.A.

Professor Folena was a delightful, gentle, and generous man, he loved to laugh, and he loved to remember how he sold turpentine for a living when he returned to civilian life from the concentration camp where he had been imprisoned (as a political undesirable) during the war.

I could never aspire to the greatness Professor Folena achieved while on this earth (nor have I suffered the way that he and his generation did). But I do think of him often and how his turpentine is my wine. I am so very fortunate to make a living doing something that I enjoy, a career that brings me into contact with interesting people and takes me to interesting places.

I hawk wine for a living because translating and writing a blog doesn’t pay the bills. But I have never abandoned my labor of love and I am very proud to share the news that my translation of Professor Gian Piero Brunetta’s The History of Italian Cinema has been published by Princeton University Press. Professor Brunetta still teaches at the University of Padua (where I also studied Italian cinema) and we both remembered Professor Folena fondly in our email correspondence on queries I had for him regarding the translation. The book arrived yesterday in the mail and is my third hard-cover university press translation.

I’d like to dedicate it to the woman I love, Tracie B.

you are more brilliant than Lina Wertmüller
more sexy than Stefania Sandrelli
and more beautiful than Monica Vitti in any frame by Michelangelo Antonioni

This labor amoris is for you…

In the SD Reader and Guide to Italian Cinema

Do Bianchi made an appearance last week in the San Diego Reader in an entertaining piece written by Matthew Lickona on a dinner he and I shared a few weeks ago with Maurizio Zanella at Jaynes Gastropub.

In other shameless self-promotion…

I was thrilled to see the cover (left) for my translation of Brunetta’s narrative guide to Italian cinema, due out in May from Princeton University Press.

I owe a hearty thanks to my editor Hanne Winarsky who patiently and generously stood by me through thick and thin as I translated this behemoth of a book. Warm thanks also to PUP editors Kathleen Cioffi and Adithi Kasturirangan for all their help and to copy editor Maria denBoer for her deft hand.

From the Princeton University Press 2009 catalog:

The History of Italian Cinema

A Guide to Italian Film from Its Origins to the Twenty-First Century

Gian Piero Brunetta

Translated by Jeremy Parzen

The History of Italian Cinema is the most comprehensive guide to Italian film ever published. Written by the foremost scholar of Italian cinema and presented here for the first time in English, this landmark book traces the complete history of filmmaking in Italy, from its origins in the silent era; through its golden age in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, and its subsequent decline; to its resurgence today.

Gian Piero Brunetta covers more than 1,500 films, discussing renowned masters including Roberto Rossellini and Federico Fellini, as well as directors lesser known outside Italy like Dino Risi and Ettore Scola. He examines overlooked Italian genre films such as horror movies, comedies, and Westerns, and he also devotes attention to neglected periods like the Fascist era. Brunetta illuminates the epic scope of Italian filmmaking, showing it to be a powerful cultural force in Italy and leaving no doubt about its enduring influence abroad. Encompassing the social, political, and technical aspects of the craft, he recreates the world of Italian cinema, giving readers rare insights into the actors, cinematographers, film critics, and producers that have made Italian cinema unique. Brunetta’s passion as a true fan of Italian movies comes across on every page of this panoramic guide.

A delight for film lovers everywhere, The History of Italian Cinema reveals the full artistry of Italian film.

Gian Piero Brunetta is professor of the history and criticism of cinema at the University of Padua in Italy. His many books include the acclaimed five-volume History of World Cinema.

MAY

Cloth $35.00

978-0-691-11988-5

368 pages. 6 x 9.

FILM

THE RISE, FALL, AND RESURGENCE OF ITALIAN CINEMA

“Brunetta is without doubt Italy’s foremost historian of Italian cinema, and this outstanding synthesis of his three decades of research on the subject belongs on every bookshelf devoted to film in general and Italian cinema in particular. It represents not only a brilliant overview but also a comprehensive reference guide to the entire history of Italian film from the silent era to the present.”

—Peter Bondanella, author of The Cinema of Federico Fellini