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Road Rage = Jail Time

Jan
2
2007

You’re zooming along in a Porsche on a two-lane road. There’s an idiot in the fast lane chugging along in a slow car. Slo-mo doesn’t get the tailgaiting. He doesn’t get the flashing headlights. When turtle finally slides to the right, you can’t help but taunt him, a little. You know, a little harmless zigzagging, a bit of braking, some honking. A couple of choice hand gestures.


Do not pass go, Mr. Road Rage. Pit stop for 15 days in jail.
That’s what Italy’s highest court recently ruled in the case of a 46-year-old man — driving said Porsche with a woman and child as passengers — whose erratic driving was described as “personal assault.” Adding injury for the insults, he was also nailed with fines for nearly €1,000 for the gestures, according to some reports. (Bad auto-translation here).
I know, it’s hard to imagine. This is Italy, after all, a country where driving like a maniac and using offensive hand gestures would seem as quotidian as saying “ciao.” Not so, apparently. Or at least not so anymore.
A classic of Italian cinema — and we’re not talking about what is considered Classic Italian Cinema but Italians haven’t actually seen or don’t really like — centers around driving recklessly.
Il Sorpasso” (lit.”overtake”) features an engagingly handsome Vittorio Gassman at the wheel of a Lancia convertible, taunting the diligent student he’s cajoled into taking a spin and who ever else he finds on the road.
In the clip here (turn up the volume, the horn is a hallmark of the 1962 movie), Gassman advises a panting cyclist to get a Vespa, then asks him whether he wants a push.
It’s all in good fun in this masterful, entertaining flick about changing values in the Bel Paese during the economic miracle of the post-war period. But director Dino Risi doesn’t go Hollywood — though this on-the-road buddy movie is said to have inspired “Easy Rider” — and there is no happy ending.
Most people consider that a coda, but road rage hadn’t been discovered yet.

Share  Posted by Nicole Martinelli at 9:49 AM | Permalink

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