Palace Nova Eastend
Lavazza Italian Film Festival
Every child of an immigrant understands the two worlds they grew up in and the difference between culture and tradition. Most of us knew that we lived in parallel worlds; the world from the old country and the one from the new country. The parents of that generation held on to the old ways like it was the last bit of connection to their legacy or to their own youth from their motherland.
Promised is a film that explores the old Italian tradition of “promising marriage between sons and daughters.” As children Robert (Daniel Berini) and Angela (Antoniette Iesue) were promised to each other by their fathers. Growing up they were constantly reminded of the promise and it was an expectation that once they were of age a wedding would take place.
Robert has just come back from studying from Oxford in London while Angela has gone to University and fallen in love with another man. The dilemma for them both is how to can they live a life of their own but still honour family traditions and promises.
Promised explores the themes of traditional family expectations as well as the struggle for the lack of emotional freedom that children of European immigrants had to endure during that era. Director Nick Conidi does a wonderful job in depicting the delicate emotions of the parents, the children and extended family in his characters. Tina Arena in her acting debut plays Angela’s mother Rosalba with the sensitivity and understanding of an Italian mother of that era. Paul Mecurio plays Sal the father who tries to honour promises and be the head of the house making decisions according to the traditions of generations past.
While Promised is a light-hearted approach to the hard days of immigrant families trying to make their way in a new country, the serious issues are portrayed with respect and a realism of 1960s/1970s Italian culture. It’s an arranged love story that many people of that generation can relate to with heartfelt nostalgia.