Ennio Morricone, The Other Italian

When the legendary 87-year-old film composer finally won his first Oscar, he chose to speak in his native language. It was a subtly powerful message back home in Italy.

Morricone with his Oscar
Morricone with his Oscar
Massimo Gramellini


TURIN â€" On stage at the Oscars, Ennio Morricone spoke in Italian. If memory serves correctly, no one else had ever done that. It’s quite likely that he knows how to speak English, or at least enough to get through the ritual thank-yous of the occasion. What’s more, he was reading from a piece of paper he’d superstitiously folded and kept all evening in his tuxedo pocket. And so, even if his knowledge of the language of Shakespeare and Tarantino was limited, he would have had no trouble getting someone else to help jot down a few lines.

Instead, he chose to use Italian. He did so with self-knowledge and without any sort of ostentatious pride, but also with no sign of that inferiority complex typical of many provincial Italians, who jump at the chance to use any word with a whiff of foreign exoticism, or of certain politicians who fill their mouths with phrases such as “stepchild adoption,” botching the pronunciation and not knowing the meaning.

It was striking to hear our language in the temple of the Hollywood gods, from Charlize Theron to Steven Spielberg, and to see them all rise to their feet to honor the Maestro. And it was even more striking to hear the meaning of Morricone’s words, spoken slowly and yet sharply, completely devoid of rhetoric even in the final tribute to his wife of nearly six decades.

On the world’s most international stage, you had the feeling you were discovering that Other Italian, the one who knows how to combine seriousness and levity, normality and talent, flair and dignity. You don’t hear much about him because he doesn't stand out, but there is at least one in every Italian family. And his presence gives meaning to all the others.

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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