This event is part of the series La Serenissima (February 3-21,2017), a Music and Arts Festival, organized by Carnegie Hall, in collaboration with the Library of Congress, The Jewish Museum, the Embassy of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute in Washington, DC, the Italian Cultural Institute in New York, Centro Primo Levi, and NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò.
“The Venice Ghetto, 500 years of life” reconstructs the history of the oldest ghetto of Europe, thanks to the memories and to the testimonies of “excellent” witnesses, custodians of the memory and of the complex evolution of the Jewish community in Venice. Each one will focus a theme such as the origins, the relationship between the Jews and the Government of the Serenissima, between Jews of different languages and cultures, the great figures in the history of the ghetto, the permitted trades, the money, the cabala, the food, the Jewish-Venetian language, the persecutions and integration. We will tell of the daily life, and some moments of identity: a Bar Mitzvah, and a funeral. We will discover the synagogues hidden behind the facades, seemingly anonymous, the ancient Jewish cemetery, and many other places strongly evocative of an ancient and polymorphic culture.
The narrative track will follow the path of discovery of Lorenzo, a teenage Jewish boy from New York. Lorenzo is sent to Venice to learn about the origins of his mother’s family, closely related to the origins of life in the ghetto. Lorenzo will face this journey of discovery in the company of an Aunt and two young Venetian cousins who offer him the stimulus to enter more and more into a world unknown to him.
The initial emotional displacement of the boy makes way for an always growing curiosity. This experience will offer Lorenzo a unique starting point to reflect and mature, his eyes will become gradually more attentive, more perceptive, more inquisitive, without ever losing the freshness and the natural sympathy of his age. Accustomed to a city in continual evolution, which leaves no strong traces of time behind it, Lorenzo remains fascinated by the stratification of the memories and the stories which unfold, and change from an alleyway to a field, to one synagogue to another. Stories which, sometimes take form, like revelations evoked by his imagination, thanks to a historical reconstruction realized in animation. All the characters, witnesses, people who have been met, will meet again in the final scene, in the Campo of the Ghetto, reading aloud the names of those who did not come back from the extermination camps. Lorenzo too is amongst them, participant in a experience which will be remembered forever.
Director: Emanuela Giordano
Italy/France, 2015, 68 minutes
In Italian with English subtitles
Embassy of Italy - Auditorium
3000 Whitehaven Street NW
Washington, DC 20008