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Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Times: The Italian Canadian Experience During World War II

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The Niagara Falls Museum is hosting Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Times, an exhibit exploring the Italian Canadian Experience during World War II. This exhibit will run from July 6 – August 30 at the Niagara Falls History Museum on Ferry St.

Presented by the Columbus Centre of Toronto, the exhibit presents a raw perspective on the challenges of Italian Canadians following Italy’s entry into World War II on the side of Germany. The tribulations of that experience are little known and rarely noted in Canadian historical texts, but they presented a very trying time for the Italian Canadians who felt the struggle of maintaining a prideful connection to the homeland, while coming to an understanding of their new home.

The exhibition features a compelling collection of digital assets including video presentations, audio-capture and text. A series of interviews were conducted over a two-year period by the Columbus Centre, it is these dialogues that have made the travelling exhibition possible.

To coincide with this exhibition there is also an Italian Film Series titled Il Cinema Italiano being featured. On Sunday afternoons at 1:30pm the films will be introduced by Joan Nicks, a local film critic. These films are free with Museum admission and are presented in Italian with English subtitles.

July 28, 1:30 p.m.
Love and Anarchy/Film D’amore e D’anarchia (Lina Wertmüller 1973) (120 minutes, Italian with English subtitles)
Rated R
In Wertmuller’s colourful satire on Italy’s fascist period, a sad-sack farmer and an anarchist prostitute take on the politics of love and life.
Great performances by Giancarlo Giannini and Mariangela Melato.
Cannes Award, best actor; Cannes nomination, best film.

August 25, 1:30 p.m.
LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL / la vita è bella (Roberto Benigni 1997)
(118 minutes, Italian with English subtitles)
Rated PG
If a film set in a concentration camp can be both tragic and comedic, then Benigni, as director, co-writer and star, belongs to the pantheon of great Italian filmmakers still reinventing Italy’s cinema culture.
Oscars for best actor, best foreign language film, best score.

The Author

Allie Hughes is the wine and culinary contributor to Naturally in Niagara, feasting on the decadent experience that is life in this region. With a fine wine sensibility honed at the International Sommelier Guild, Allie is taking the journey of Niagara by the glass with you with each new taste. Allie is also the creative mind behind the marketing of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute, and owner of Hughes & Co., a boutique social strategy firm.

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