I’m desperately busy today, as it’s the first of the month (which is always heavy), as well as being an important day in a big reorganisation project (the various things that we do are moving to their own legal entities from today, rather than being all together in one company).
Plus I have to go for ‘un esame del sangue’ mid-morning, then teach.
So I’m keeping this really, really short!
Over the weekend my wife was in hospital so, not having to cook, I had more time for wine, and to accompany that, Netflix.
The last thing I’d watched was some blockbuster featuring Tom Cruise so, naturally, when I next switched on the movie streaming service, its algorithm suggested I might enjoy an Italian movie starring people I’ve never heard of.
Beh, the wine was the thing, really, so I ideally clicked on Scialla!, a title that meant absolutely nothing to me (it’s Roman slang, apparently – I’d assumed it was the name of one of the characters!)
If you’re curious, the Italian Wikipedia page is here, English version here, official trailer on Youtube here, and the film itself, besides being on Netflix (at least in Italy) is also available for free on Raiplay, though to access that last one you need to be in Italy, or know how to evade geo-blocking controls using a VPN. Either way, registration is required.
Anyway, I enjoyed my evening, watched the movie through to the end and, AS STUDENTS INVARIABLY SAY TO ME, “didn’t understand everything!”
Acutally, they usually complain they “didn’t understand anything!”, though that’s never actually true. You can get a lot just by loooking at the images. I once enjoyed Toy Story in Polish, for example (it was snowing and minus 20 outside the cinema…)
“It’s normal”, I tell them. “You probably don’t understand ‘everything’ when you watch a movie in your own language, it’s just that you’re used to and happy with just getting the gist.”
Scialla! is set in Rome, I think. One of the two main characters is fifteen and so speaks teenagerese rather than ‘proper Italian’, and with a Roman accent to boot.
The other main character, who is approximately my age and also a teacher, was easier to follow, but not ‘easy’.
I don’t have many Italian friends and most of my listening is in other languages. As we speak English at home, I only really use Italian at work – for example at the reception desk in our school, or in supermarkets – both situations being very predictable and repetitive.
So there you go, I didn’t understand everything, but that was fine! I enjoyed the film anyway, and wasn’t surprised that a lot of the detail passed me by.
A few days later, my wife was home and looking for something to distract her from the pain, so Netflix again! Buoyed by its earlier success, again the algorithm suggested an Italian title, this time ‘Strappare lungo i bordi‘, English name ‘Tear Along the Dotted Line‘.
I’d heard of this one, at least. I read somewhere that this animated series was one of the most watched things on Netflix, and so was curious enough to click.
This time, though, it was much harder!
The first episode was just fifteen minutes long, and though I more or less got the gist, so much of the detail passed me by, I did something I NEVER DO – watched it again!
Actually the second time reassured me that I’d understood pretty well the first time, but the details remained elusive.
So there you have it, the lesson for today: I’ve been in Italy since 1998, I have three Italian kids, run a business here, and online businesses centered on learning and teaching Italian – yet there’s STILL lots I don’t/can’t/won’t ever get.
Be reassured: not understanding is normal.
Listen/watch/read/interact anyway, and it’ll get easier with time.
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Grazie Daniel, di nuovo me dai fiducia. Tantissimi auguri alla tua splendida moglie per una pronta guarigioni.
“Strappare lungo i bordi” è tanto bello quanto difficile da capire anche per gli italiani, perlomeno tutti quelli che non sono di Roma!
I fan di Zerocalcare come me dicono che lo riguardano una, due, tre volte perché sono appassionati… ma la verità è che anche loro “non hanno capito niente” 😉