William Timberman’s blog.
Why this place is called Canecittà:
1. Love. I spent some time in Verona in the early Sixties, long enough to be astonished at the eloquence of PCI orators at street rallies, and to make myself understood in simple conversations with my neighbors. To a 20 year-old American, Italy was a magical place, inhabited by an equally magical people. To this day, I owe Italy and Italians a debt I’ll never be able to repay except in memory. (If you want to know what Italy looked and sounded like in those days, find a copy of Antonioni’s La Notte. Nothing I know of captures post-war Italy better, at least as I remember it.)
2. Wonder. When I was fifteen, I got a weekend job as an usher and concession stand operator in a small town movie theater. Ben Hur played for two weeks there in 1960, and haunted me for most of the rest of the year, particularly the chariot race sequence. Years later, I found out that it was filmed at Cinecittà (Cinema City), the giant movie lot built by Mussolini on the outskirts of Rome. I also learned that the chariot race hippodrome was actually built there — no CGI, no tricks that wood, plaster and gilt couldn’t provide. It was my first inkling of how dreams are made real in the world, and become part of other people’s experiences. It’s a not altogether flattering testament to the innocence of my generation, I suppose, that we learned such things from movies long before we became aware of them anywhere else.
3. Sentimentality. I live in a small town, with small fenced yards, and lots of dogs in those yards. Their owners love them. I understand why they love them, even though I don’t. Never blame the dogs for the world you impose on them.