“I am very happy for this honorary Oscar. To all women director? I tell them to do good movies.” Italian writer-director Lina Wertmüller flew all the...
‘Bread and chocolate’ usually makes people think of their youth, their home, and family traditions dear to the heart.
On the contrary, the comedy-drama Pane e Cioccolata (Bread and Chocolate), released in 1974 by Italian director Franco Brusati, leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. And yet, it is undoubtedly a masterpiece of Italian cinema, starring the late actor and director Nino Manfredi (1921 - 2004).
The movie describes the misadventures of a young Italian immigrant to Switzerland in the 1970s, who loses his work permit but refuses to give up a life of opportunity, even if far from his home and family. Hilarious and moving at the same time, the film is a portrait of Italy and the Italians as they looked like from abroad. Sadly, even if it was made over thirty years ago, those immigrants and their stories don’t look so unfamiliar after all.
Along with Alberto Sordi, Ugo Tognazzi, and Vittorio Gassman, Nino Manfredi is considered one the most talented performers and a symbol of the Commedia all’Italiana film genre, very popular in Italy in the second half of the 20th century.
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the movie and the 10th anniversary of Nino Manfredi’s death, a restored version of Bread and Chocolate was presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood on Friday, May 9.
The event was attended by representatives of the Italian Institutions, including the Consul General of Italy Giuseppe Perrone, the IIC acting director Massimo Sarti, the Trade Commissioner Carlo Bocchi, as well as by members of the local Italian American community and of the show business. Special guests were Erminia Manfredi, the actor’s widow, his daughter Roberta and her husband Alberto Simone, director, and his granddaughter Sarah Masten.
Introducing the screening, Erminia Manfredi – accompanied by journalist Silvia Bizio – underlined the importance of this particular film for Nino, due to the fact that it contributed to solidify his reputation at an international level but also that his own grandfather was an immigrant to the U.S.A. in the late 19th century. According to her, such a film will never become obsolete because people constantly migrate for one reason or another. As Nino Manfredi used to say: “Nowadays people emigrate from their soul.”
The Hollywood screening of Bread and Chocolate opened the celebrations Nino! Tribute to Nino Manfredi to be held in Italy and abroad throughout the year 2014. It was organized by Dalia Events and Onni, and sponsored by NIAF and Lavazza.
In Los Angeles, the initiative was promoted by the Consulate General of Italy, the Italian Cultural Institute, the Italian Trade Agency, the Italian Film Commission, Cineteca Bologna, Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia – Cineteca Nazionale.
It also featured a selection of Nino Manfredi’s most acclaimed films, screened at the IIC May 12 through 16, including Between Miracles (1971), Moon Shadow (1995) – director Alberto Simone, producer Roberta Manfredi, and Erminia Manfredi were in attendance -, The Treasure of San Gennaro (1966), We All Loved Each Other So Much (1974), and Bread and Chocolate (1974). In addition, the IIC hosted a preview of the photographic exhibition dedicated to the actor’s personal and professional life that will open in Rome next Fall.