Issue #88

Elisa Bonora

La Mamma Di Giordano

My name is Elisa Bonora. I am a film editor. I was born in Milan from parents who both worked in theater in the great 1960s of the Piccolo Teatro. After graduating at Albedo Film School in Milan, I moved to Los Angeles and opened “Us2, editorial” and worked in advertising for directors like Joe Pytka and Tony Kaye. In 2008 I bought and refurbished a 1968 Airstream RV to turn it into my documentaries editing room. Parked at the edge of Topanga State Park, I have edited many documentaries including Comandante (2003) and South of the Border (2007) by Oliver Stone, the Emmy-nominated No Subtitles Necessary (2004), Blackfish (2012) and Brave Miss World (2014) Glen Campbell…I’LL BE ME (2014), which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Song, won a Grammy and was nominated for Best Documentary by the Critics Awards and the A.C.E. As off April 2015 I have joined the A.C.E.

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What do you do in your life (work and fun)?

I love the outdoor. My professional life is all about looking at a monitor, creating a frame for reality to live in a filmic story line. Dead lines, hours, and schedules pester my days. The moment I am out of the editing room I need no deadlines and need to look at vast far horizons. The sea is my favorite place. The ocean makes me dream, timeless days are my favorite, Nature, animals, children my passion and politics one of the few things that I can make me loose my cool.

What made you leave Italy and chose LA?

I left Italy after (sadly) giving up the idea of having a career in my country of birth and the country where all the people I loved, lived. I left with the illusion to thrive professionally, but resisting the American culture as much as I could, holding on for dear life to my language, my traditions. Eventually decades later it became very evident that I have transformed into a California girl. I am no longer the Elisa that left Milan in 1990. I have embraced an international sense of being, totally fell in love with California and even experienced patriotic feelings. My son was born here and I am often surprised of how much I have transferred to him the same values and sense of identity. Giordano is absolutely a child of both worlds, with a beautiful sense of the world at large. I am so proud to say… his Italian is impeccable, along with Milan dialect and knowledge of all the beloved Italian singers of my generation like Battisti, Lucio Dalla or Jannacci…Giordano’s spirit, with his dual citizenship is also of a virtual emigrant. Along with my husband Claudio we can comfortably say we are an immigrant family.

Please share your best memory in the City.

Meeting my girlfriend Cecilia Miniucchi both just out of film school. She is and was the most unique human I ever met. Unbelievably alive and hilarious intelligent woman. She used to drive a black Volkswagen Golf cabrio never under 80 miles per hour. I was totally intimidated by a city that during the day looked like a complicated intertwining of freeways and at night like an infinite ocean of lights. But that never slowed Cecilia down. Together we landed in many improbable parties, drove to far exotic restaurants, met intriguing people of all kinds and navigated this city as if it was a small pond. To this day I can not drive through Westwood without thinking of our laughters one night leaving a party where, by a series of complicated circumstances she had to lend me her underwear. That was our historical moment. 28 years later I am still blessed by her friendship and love.

What made you choose this specific location and outfit?

My Airstream is my time capsule, the belly of the beast where I was able to crown my forever dream: making documentaries. My outfit I bough in Milan few weeks prior to the picture and felt good that I still shop in Milan so I thought it was appropriate for the occasion… even though in my heart today when it comes to fashion the biggest space is occupied by my friend absolute genius fashion designer Naida Begeta for Kao Pao Shu.

Your thought about this project, ITALIANY.US

I love the idea that Alexo had. I think it is so important to document who we are today, how the new wave of immigration looks like. There are more Italians outside Italy then in Italians in Italy, an actual virtual country suspended in the clouds. Who have we become? From the Italian immigration of the 20s to now we have transformed… evolved. Troisi said, Neapolitans can’t travel, only emigrate. I never liked the idea of calling myself an immigrant, because I always felt like I was passing by and would eventually go home. But then the concept of home extended to Topanga Canyon where I have being living for over 20 years, then to California, and then it was clear I was indeed an immigrant and stopped thinking of immigrant as a dirty word, and finally embraces my new identity, this process took me 25 years.

How would you describe being an ambassador of the italian style/culture abroad?

I did feel like an ambassador, as each and every interaction here have being looked through the Italian lens. It made me feel both responsible and as a performing artist. But when I go back to Italy I am also perceived as an American so there too I have become an ambassador of my Californian enthusiasm. Ultimately we are strange hybrids and  we are no longer exactly one thing. Possibly and advantage? Definitely.

  • Shots


  • Time

    120 mins

  • City

    Los Angeles

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A visual celebration of Italians working, living and loving in NY and in the US