Inside the 41esimo Parallelo Film Festival
Naples student Tony Mastroianni takes us inside New York’s 41esimo Parallelo Film Festival and confesses his love for Napoli in an ode to the city written in the vernacular.
The 41st parallel is an imaginary line that circles our little world, connecting Naples, Italy to New York, New York. Some would call it latitude, whatever. The 41st parallel lent its name to a couple clever gentlemen who started New York’s exclusive little version of the Napoli Film Fest.
About a year ago I interviewed one of those clever gentlemen–curator Antonio Monda about the who, what, where, when, why of the fest. What I got was more interesting. Mr. Monda told me more or less about all the other intangible parallels (ndr ride) between the two cities, “…the melting pots, the harbors, the parallel, but they are both cities that welcome whoever comes to them. They are made for foreigners, everyone feels at home after one minute in both cities.” He further explained that, “New York is the city of today, while Naples is one of the eternal cities, [that] the idea is to bring Neapolitan culture or something related to the Mediterranean to New York City.”
This year’s festival was no exception to years past. I, personally, only caught one film: a collection of 24 three minute long shorts reflecting Naples. Directed by 24 Neapolitan directors, including the likes of Paolo Sorrentino, it was very appropriately titled -Napoli 24. You see 24 completely different takes on a city as diverse as each featured vignette. Any one of them could have stood on their own as accurate representations of their city. From elegant scripted fiction to three minutes focused on a pig roaming the side of a metropolitan street eating refuse. One man’s garbage is another pig’s treasure.
In a city that’s cultural diversity is represented in such a prominent way that it became the face of the city itself, the ever-apparent flavor of Naples is but a freckle New York’s massive phiz. Of course, there’s always a little New York spin on things. Greeks make great diner food, Chinese food tastes like Chinese food and then there is always New York abeetz. Once a year, whether it be at the grand Fordham Lincoln Center or NYU’s Casa Italiana, the 41esimo Parallelo brings a refreshing dose of Naples across that invisible line and more importantly, outside the realm of O’ Sole Mio and those red checkered table clothes.
Tutte hanno scritto 'e Napule canzone appassiunate,
tutte 'e bellezze 'e Napule sò state decantate:
da Bovio a Tagliaferri, Di Giacomo a Valente;
in prosa, vierze e musica: ma chi po ddi cchiù niente?
Chi tene 'o curaggio 'e di' quaccosa
doppo ca sti puete gruosse assaie
d'accordo songo state a ddi una cosa:
ca stu paese nun se scorda maie.
Sta Napule, riggina d' 'e ssirene,
ca cchiù 'a guardammo e cchiù 'a vulimmo bbene.
'A tengo sana sana dinto 'e vvene,
'a porto dinto 'o core, ch' aggia fà?
Napule, si comme 'o zucchero,
terra d'ammore - che rarità!
Zuoccole, tammorre e femmene,
è 'o core 'e Napule ca vò cantà.
Napule, tu si adorabile,
siente stu core che te vò di:
"Zuoccole, tammorre e femmene,
chi è nato a Napule nce vo murì".