Thursday, 5 April 2018

Motion pictures filmed in Ticino: what about Spaghetti-Harvest in Ticino?

The OltreconfiniTi is an excellent web platform for those seeking information on emigration from the Canton Ticino, Switzerland, which is a part of the Insubrica region. The website was first launched in 2013, and it has a repository function for the valuable information about the emigration. 

One of the latest initiatives of OlteconfiniTI is to collect all movies that have been filmed in Ticino. Starting from 1915 up to the present day, its database is impressive comprising more than 130 fiction movies. There are here movies for all tastes and for everyone: from Leni Riefenstahl (Das Blaue Licht 1932 shot in Foroglio Valle Maggia) up to James Bond/Pierce Brosnan with a breathtaking scene of a beautiful jump from the Contra dam of the Valle Verzasca. There is a wealth of famous national, Italian and international cinematographic directors and actors who worked in Ticino. 

2017 Elisarion Minusio
Insubrica Historica
Insubrica Historica admired in 2017,  during the Film Festival in Locarno, the exhibition held in Minusio, in the Centro Elisarion, that was devoted to all majors movies produced in Switzerland. Amazing movies! Maybe, they will not be liked by everyone but they have put emphasis on the historical heritage of the Insubrica region. 

So, a question could be asked: which movie is the best fiction movie ever filmed in Ticino? The answer may surprise you...
Surely, we are not cinematographic experts but, from our point of view, the winning reward goes to a BBC report which was broadcasted in April 1957 in the UK and called "The spaghetti-tree". It was a brief  broadcast that lasted only three minutes on 1 April, the so called "Fools' Day". It showed purposely a family in southern Switzerland, harvesting spaghetti from a family "spaghetti tree".

This short broadcasting report appeared originally from the idea of Albert Kuntz, the managing director of the Swiss Tourism Office in London. The production was assured by Charles de Jaeger (1911-2000) from the BBC channel. The actors, who, unfortunately, have all already past away in the present day, were ordinary employees of the Lugano Tourist Office.  The restaurant Taddei, shown at 1m55sec, has been long gone and has become today the Historical Archive of Città di Lugano, which is worth visiting.

At that time, the spaghetti were relatively little known in the UK, so that many Britons were unaware of their production procedures and their ingredients that included some wheat flour and water; a great number of viewers contacted the BBC after having viewed the broadcast for valuable pieces of advice on how to grow their own spaghetti trees in England. According to CNN, this broadcast was even "the biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled". Enjoy the hoax: