Italian cultural night

With the sound of music and language ringing in the ears and the distinct aroma of pizza filling the nostrils, Derry’s first Italian cultural festival took place earlier in the week.

Organised by students of the Northwest Academy English language school in conjunction with the Nerve Centre, the festival had a unique set of events for visitors to take part in. 

You could try your hand at the language with a series of “speed lessons” on everything from eating out, the numbers in Italian, or even the colours. There was mandolin playing as well as an operatic recital.

To top it all off there was a screening of the whimsical short Centro Barca Okkupato about a local community centre in danger of closure and the lengths to which the users of the centre will go to keep the centre open. Thé iceing on the Italian cake was a screening of the classic Cinema Paradiso, the story of Salvatore “Toto” Di Vita and the influence that the local cinema and it’s projectionist Alfredo have on his life as Toto grows from an enthusiastic young boy, to a love sick teenager through to someone who himself has influence on cinema.

Given the amount of Italians who have made Derry their home down the years it is surprising that an Italian cultural night has not been organised before. The Northwest Academy of English, the Nerve Centre and everyone else involved are to be congratulated on a well thought-out program, let’s hope it is the first of many.

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Black Klansman serves as a wake-up call to modern America and the world at large

Opening with an unusually low key appearance from Alec Baldwin as Dr. Kennebrew Beauregard, a white supremacist taking to the airwaves to warn of the dangers of an integrated society in the United States, or anywhere else for that matter.

This sets the tone for what is a hard-hitting film with splashes of dark humour and homages to the blaxploitation genre by a groundbreaking director who gave audiences the likes of Do The Right Thing, Mo Better Blues, and Malcolm X, films which defined a generation and arguably confidence to the community he grew up in.

This latest offering, complete with over the top Afro’s and lots of flairs and bling, tells the true story of Ron Stallworth, a rooky cop with the Colorado Police Department.

Bored with his job in the records department, Stallworth is eventually given the chance to make a name for himself as a detective.

He is sent undercover to a black panther movement meeting where he meets and falls for an activist by the name of Patrice Dumace.

By chance he comes across s contact number for the local Ku Klux Klan, chancing his arm and totally winging it he phones them up making inquiries on joining up. Slowly but surely Stallworth wins their confidence – the only problem being that he has agreed to meet them – he being a black man.

In steps Flip Zimmerman who takes on the role as the public face of Stallworth.

What ensues is a tale of farce (in the true sense of the world) where on the one hand Stallworth is playing the part of a black power activist while at the same time infiltrating, (along with Zimmerman), the higher reaching of the KKK. What Lee as a director manages to do in this case is juxtapositioning the actions of extremists on both sides.

The film paces along until the resolution of the story. Then, just as you think that everything has been nice and neatly resolved the film concludes with a dose of reality, making the audience perhaps realise that we are all responsible for the causes and the solutions of the to problem being perpetuated by society today, not just in the United States but the world.