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Laura Giannotti

Tomboy Turned Dancer

If I try to look at my life and how it was influenced by certain media in the sense of films and TV programs, I have to say that I am not a very enthusiastic media consumer at all or at least  I do not think so. To give you an example, I do not like the current Italian TV programs because they offer nothing interesting to me and then again, I also have very little time now for watching it, now that I am working.

I am now 28 years old. I was born on the 29th of September 1977 in Cuneo, not  a particularly lively in which, however, I like to live and I actually like it well enough, not to have wanted to study or live abroad. So to get back to media and my relation to them, when I was a child, that is, between the age of six and eight years, I was free to watch whatever children's programs I liked, so I saw quite a lot of cartoons, especially Japanese ones because they are really appealing with all these bright colors and lots of action. I watched cartoons like "Creamy", "Puffi", "Lupin III" practically everyday. I remember one that called "Candy Candy" which had a kind of nurse with blond braids for protagonist. Believe it or not, my parents often joined me while watching cartoons.

A film that meant a lot to me and which I remember vividly was "The never-ending story", based on a fantasy-book. I think I saw it when I was around seven years old, but I am not quite sure. Anyway, this film made me want to read more and indeed I started reading quite a lot of fantasy books written for children and young adults, for example the books of Terry Brooks. His books really get you absorbed, however, the hundreds of different characters in them often got me confused.

Another film that I really liked to the point of watching it over and over again, was "Back to the Future" because I thought it would be just fantastic to just get into some kind of vehicle and then travel back in time whenever you want to.

When I was around twelve years old, my "MacGyver years" started. I watched this series which was shown every day religiously. I think I was so fascinated by it because I was then attending the "liceo scientifico", in which teaching focused on the natural sciences. Would you believe that I was also dressing like that man when I was a teenager? I wore huge cargo-pants and always carried a Swiss knife with me, which was almost the same kind MacGyver had. I behaved very much like a boy then because MacGyver  was my role model - just like that and not because I did not like being a girl or had a problem with that.

The next very important phase I went through as a young adult was the "Dirty Dancing" phase. I watched this film approximately 12 times when I was around 18. And like many other girls who had watched this film and become absorbed by the music and the very good looks of Patrick Swayze, I really wanted to learn to dance. I think that dancing communicates a lot and that is also why I stuck to it until today. Now I am attending lessons for Latin-American Dance together with my boy-friend, who is also a passionate dancer and has been taking classes with me for three years now. On weekends on which I am not too stressed and tired from working, we go dancing and enjoy ourselves.

Another film I watched exactly during that time, was "Grease" this musical in which John Travolta and Olivia Newton John were dancing and singing. Actually I was also singing to the music. This film and "Back to the future" are also the two favorites of my boyfriend and I am glad that we have similar tastes.

My all-time favorite would be "Bridget Jones" because she was for me the classical image of a drinking, smoking desperate English woman and then she really fails in everything she does and is so desperate but at the same time so comic. She seems extremely realistic to me with all her "Do-it-yourself" and "How to find a great man and marry him" kind of books. It was just hilarious to watch her but I have to say that I did not identify myself with her. I think that many women identify themselves with her precisely because she has too little self-esteem to succeed .

The last film I watched - and which really made a big impression on me was "V for Vendetta" with Natalie Portman. The film is set in the year 2050 in Britain I think and it is about values and about fighting for liberty. What it basically says is that governments need to be controlled in some way, so that they do not become corrupt and infringe upon basic rights of people. Maybe it is also because the Italian government is so highly prone to corruption and injustice, that I found this film especially interesting and important. The actors play their roles really well and I admired the man who played behind that mask, which is emblematic for the subject I think. Moreover, the film is very aesthetic in its very own way. Of course it is a fantasy film but on the other hand what is happening in it, is not far from reality at all! Anyway, I think everybody should watch it.

Due to the fact that I work a lot these days and am commuting back and forth between Cuneo and Vercelli, I do not have much time to watch TV or listen to the radio because I am traveling by train. However, I still love going to the cinema and my boyfriend and me watch about five films per month. We have different tastes of course but mostly we find a common denominator and watch films like X-Men 3, which both of us enjoyed. My personal taste tends towards romantic comedies or film versions of books I like, for example "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen. On the whole, for me it is most important that there is a good plot with good dialogues and good actors, however, if the film is also diverting and comic that is even better. I do not think, that a film has to be particularly educating or artistic or demanding to be good, although I watch that kind of movie too.

These days, I only watch television to see the news because the films they show are not worth watching. When I began university in 1996, I began commuting and since then my lifestyle has totally changed, meaning, that I have time for very few things now - including watching TV or surfing the web. At work I sit in front of the computer all day and that is probably why I do not feel inclined to using the web in my free time, although I use it regularly as a valuable source of information, but certainly not for purposes of entertainment.


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