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Week of the Italian Language: La Scuola d’Italia in New York Presents “I Ribelli”

Consul General Genuardi: “You represent the most beautiful thing that Italy has in New York, that Italy has in general”

La Scuola d'Italia (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Thursday evening, La Scuola d’Italia, hosted a webinar for the occasion of La Settimana della Lingua Italiana (Week of the Italian Language in the World), presenting a video made by their fifth grade students, which had as its core theme the subject of the Italian language. The video, entitled I Ribelli, was planned by Massimo Zoran, the school’s theater teacher.

Dr. Maria Palandra, Ph.D., La Scuola d’Italia’s Head of School, in extending her gratitude towards Consul General Genuardi, the parents, and the children in attendance, addressed the audience and guests, stating that the program is usually presented at the Italian Institute of Culture in New York, but unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, had to be held virtually this year.

Consul General of Italy, Francesco Genuardi, who attended the webinar, thanked Dr. Palandra and thanked the board, teachers, and families of the Scuola d’Italia for showing their resiliency and strength during these past difficult years, but especially this past year, commenting on how “deeply proud” the Consulate General of Italy is of the Scuola d’Italia, stating, “You represent the most beautiful thing that Italy has in New York, that Italy has in general[….]We will assist and support you also in this very just and opportune strategy of outreach and the search for other types of support, also with regards to scholarships. Tonight, there is this show, this video, that I believe will demonstrate again how rich and talented and creative your community is”. He went on to further state that the Scuola d’Italia is “an Italian imprinting within a global perspective. It’s really a pleasure to work with you. Let me also express, since my tenure is beginning to see the end – I will be here probably until January or February, so I want to end on a very personal note, also because I began at the helm of the Consulate with a big gala in March of 2016 at the Scuola d’Italia. Let me express how much La Scuola d’Italia has shaped my perception of the importance of the Italian community in New York.”

I Ribelli takes place in New York City, within the classrooms of two fifth grade classes, 5A and 5B, which are two rival graffiti crews. The video was also shot in various outdoor settings, including Central Park. The 5A class is called the Graffiti Kings and 5B, GraffitiLandia (Graffiti Land). This year, the theme for the Settimana della Lingua Italiana, was La lingua italiana nei graffiti, i fumetti e le illustrazioni (Italian Language In Graffiti, Comics and Illustrations). The story is about these two secret rival crews of graffiti artists that have been discovered by an investigative journalist through his correspondents on the ground. The crews are secret because they want to become famous by remaining anonymous (“diventare famosi rimanendo anonimi”). The journalist wants to get a news scoop on these crews, and after various adventures and no scoop, the journalist invites the two crews to a contest to uncover which one is better.  The video opens with images of New York City back in 1982, with old videoclips of interviews questioning the meaning of Street Art, and whether it should be considered art or vandalism. The children, back in present-day New York City, and respectful of mask-wearing and social distancing due to the pandemic, take us on a voyage from graffiti to Hip Hop, demonstrating their street art on portable canvases, so as not to dirty the walls, along with their hip hop dance moves. In the end, both crews win the contest. Viva la lingua italiana!


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