Tunisia, land of welcome, Claudia Cardinale – Culture

(ANSAmed) – TUNIS, MAY 30 – Film star Claudia Cardinale said on Sunday she “still feels a bit Tunisian” during a ceremony to name a street after her in the port town of La Goulette, near from Tunis. She underlined that she always felt close to her native country, whose sense of hospitality represents a model of welcome for the West. “I am very honored because this is where I was born and spent my childhood,” noted Cardinale, 84.

Visibly moved, she danced to the music played by a traditional orchestra and then received many gifts, including several portraits of local painters. A mural with his giant portrait was unveiled shortly before the inauguration of the street bearing his name. “We admire Claudia a lot and she loves Tunisia, she is coming home – we wanted to dedicate a road to her that will bear her name forever,” said La Goulette Mayor Amel Limam.

“I still take with me a lot of things about Tunisia, its landscape, its people, its sense of hospitality, its openness,” confided the actress before the ceremony, in an interview with AFP. Cardinale said she was “very grateful” to the municipality and to the association “La Piccola Sicilia”, co-organizer of the ceremony. At the time of independence in 1956, the Italian community, including many emigrants who arrived before the French protectorate (which began in 1881), numbered more than 130,000 members. “It’s an important step: the Tunisia of my parents, my grandparents, was an extraordinary Tunisia – a land of sharing, joy and exchange,” said the actress, confident that she grew up “in a great cultural melting pot”.

Elected in July 1957 as “the most beautiful Italian in Tunisia” at the age of 19, her prize was a trip the same year to the Venice film festival. A year later, the director Mario Monicelli entrusts him with a role in the film “I soliti ignoti” (Big deal on Madonna street). Shortly after, her family moved to Rome where Cardinale’s career took off with “Il gattopardo” (The Leopard) by Luchino Visconti and “C’era una volta il west” (Once upon a time in the west) by Sergio Leone. The actress, who has lived in France for many years, has been cast as a grandmother in Tunisian director Ridha Behi’s latest film, “L’île du Pardon”, currently in post-production. Her family never recovered after leaving Tunisia, a move she suffered in exile. “It was very hard. My father never wanted to go back there, because he feared the pain of what was heartbreaking for him,” she said. “My mother recreated Tunis in Italy”, planted bougainvillea, jasmine, prickly pears there, and “continued to cook” Tunisian dishes.

The actress went on to say that Tunisia “must be proud of its history”. And faced with the story of many Tunisians who risk their lives to reach Europe today, she stressed that it is “important to remember a common past to build the future”.

“Tunisia has been a land of welcome for us and I wish all those in the world who need to leave to find the same welcome”, she concluded. (ANS Amed). (ANSA).

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