The article explores Roberta Torre’s film Sud Side Stori (2000), an extravagant Italian re-vision of Romeo and Juliet set in the Sicilian city of Palermo which displays awareness of the global circulation of the story of the two ‘‘star-crossed lovers’’. In the film, which combines neo-realist cinematographic techniques with the artificial style of the musical, Shakespeare’s young lovers become Toni Giulietto, a lousy local rock singer, and Romea Wacoubo, a beautiful Nigerian prostitute who falls in love with him when she sees him standing on his balcony. Not unlike West Side Story, the inter-racial passion between Toni and Romea exacerbates pre-existing ethnic conflicts. It is opposed not only by the two lovers’ ‘‘households’’ _ respectively, Toni’s three ugly aunties and Romea’s closest friends Mercutia and Baldassarra _ but also by the whole Nigerian immigrant community, including those African characters who run the racket of prostitution, and, more indirectly, by the local Mafia. The article argues that Torre’s film is a reiteration which ‘‘produces’’ the ‘‘textual body’’ of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as an ensemble of spectral/textual fragments which remain to be translated into Italian, and thus draws attention to translation as an interminable process. It adds that these fragments are often re-mediated, de-contextualized and forced to cohabit with the language of the body, music and dance, or even with the conventions of silent films, in ways which are reciprocally illuminating. The article also shows that in Torre’s film ‘‘Shakespearecentric’’ concerns _ what counts as Shakespeare, which includes the multifarious ways in which Romeo and Juliet has been recycled in contemporary global media culture _ and ‘‘Shakespeareccentric’’ concerns repeatedly interact with one another. Particularly significant in this respect is the fact that the film often brings an allegorical dimension to bear on the issues of migration and hospitality it continually foregrounds, so that the response to the alterity of the body of the ‘‘other’’/foreigner/migrant (i.e. especially Romea but also the similarly displaced ‘‘native’’ Toni Giuletto) becomes inextricably intertwined with the question of the incorporation of the ‘‘foreignness’’ of Shakespeare, a ‘‘textual body’’ which itself migrates from an Anglophone to a non-Anglophone context.
|Number of pages||19|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts
- Literature and Literary Theory