Love Your Neighbour | ARTE

An Italian by Wlodek the Pole

And you, how do you picture an Italian?

Tomas the Austrian

I can see her: shapely, an olive complexion, a black summer dress – she is the Mamma. She has just had coffee with her female friends. In the middle of the kitchen, she is now preparing pasta: spaghetti, tomato sauce, herbs and fresh veggies from the market. She is listening to opera on the radio. She makes dinner for the whole family, loads of food, after which she puts everything back in order. It’s the Italian mother who is the boss in the house. Her sons must obey her every word. They are not allowed to leave the house before marrying.

Collected in Vienna

Marga the Spaniard

When I think of Italy, I picture two types of men and landscapes. On the one hand, a modern young man impeccably dressed and strongly interested in business. He comes from Northern Italy. On the other hand, a Southern Italian, more traditional, who eats the pasta that his mother cooked. It’s the same for landscapes: you step into a hotel, where everything is incredibly design and hip, then you go out again and it’s totally derelict. I wonder whether it’s because they neglect their heritage or because they have too much to be able to preserve it.

Collected in Barcelona

Hugo and Gregor the Estonians

The Italian guy? He has his shirt collar wide open, a chain around the neck and gobbles up pizzas or pasta in front of sunsets. He is surrounded by loads of women who run their hands through his brown hair slick with gel. He drinks wine. His sunglasses with coloured glass pushed back on top of his head, and his fancy clothes, he looks like a model. In fact, he has a job, a slightly illegal one. He works for the mafia, or else as a head chef. A kind of work, let’s say, where there isn’t much to do, but at the same time he is very wealthy.

Collected in Tallinn

Eleftheria the Greek

I think of a slim, handsome man with brownish green eyes. He wears jeans and shirts instead of a suit although he is the manager of the largest car company in Italy. In the afternoon, he eats spaghetti marinara with a glass of white wine. He talks about the latest news on the phone with his friend, and about work, and his friend’s wife, and his friend’s kids… An Italian is not very different from a Greek. The only difference is that Italians eat much more spaghetti.

Collected in Athens

 

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fresco - Love your neighbor

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