The film “Miss Little China,” a documentary about Chinese immigrants in Italy, has scarcely been noticed north of the Alps since its release this past July, but I found this documentary to be completely fascinating. At least the parts I could understand. Here is the trailer:
Much more of the film is available on La Repubblica’s television program here (program preceded by a harmless 15-second milk advertisement in Italian). This program runs about 37 minutes, and is much recommended over the trailer. For the benefit of readers who wish to skip over La Repubblica’s criticism of the film in favor of watching excepts of the documentary itself, I recommend the following sections (marked in minutes and seconds):
4:54-11:15 (sections in Chinese from 5:50-6:40 // along with a very intriguing sample of something that sounds like Italian/Chinese rap at 7:25, any leads would be appreciated)
13:30-15:00 (more Chinese dialog, including the complaint that Italians are so oblivious to Chinese individual appearances, that all Chinese males could share a single passport for getting into and out of the country and no one would notice)
19:40-21:50 (a rather humorous classroom sequence where a Chinese instructor tells a mute class that Eastern Europe is bad because it was communist, then admits that China must be really poor if people are having to come to economically struggling Italy to make money)
25:54-28:00 (on commerce)
32:15-34:40 (with a short excerpt at 33:30 of a place which is the spitting image of a Cleveland, USA Chinatown restaurant/karaoke joint on St. Clair Avenue, giving me both a sense of great distance but also intense familiarity, strange enough).
In other news, China is pumping up interest in the Shanghai Expo in Italy. According to the Global Times:
[China’s National Tourism Office in Italy director] Xiong Shanhua announced the visit of a Chinese delegation of tourism entrepreneurs in Italy later in the year, who for one entire month will be traveling around the country to present China and the Shanghai Expo.
For Caterina Cittadino, the relationship between Italy and China is special with regards to tourism.
“Despite our much diversity, Italy and China feel culturally close to one another. This is why the Italian government has greatly invested in boosting cultural and tourist exchanges and we look forward to a stronger collaboration between tour operators.”
She forgot to mention continuities of cuisine, as well as familiarity with corruption!
Cittadino said that several of Italy’s best practices in tourism will be showcased at the Expo, noting that it stood as an opportunity to strengthen the perception in China of the Italian brand, which is already much loved in the country.
The official presentation of the Shanghai Expo in Rome was the first of a series to be organized across Italy. The same promotion ceremony will take place in coming days as well in Florence, Milan and Parma.
While the U.S. flounders with its own Expo preparations, two soft power giants are meeting in Milan…. And Le Figaro reports that a representative from the Vatican was in Beijing for talks in early March.