I just started my Italian classes and it’s a whole new world, a world of the past. For some reason the whole thing reminds me of a Spanish film: very spare, sharp contrasting lighting, slow pacing. I don’t know if these are elements of Spanish film, but they’re elements of my class for sure.
I get the Spanish thing from looking out the window of our dingy decrepit classroom and seeing the marble statuary ringing Santa Maria Maggiore. Every so often I hear the church bells ring. The professor (who was brilliantly cast) Is a rotund balding man with crinkly eyes and a steadfast dedication to reading the textbook aloud for two hours an evening. He’ll also get us to repeat statements, or read out of the book, and occasionaly ask us questions, but he is really content to just wade through the book. I think his spark has died.

The decorations in the room speak to the overall lack of modernity I’m experiencing.