Wu Ting
How would you interpret this phrase “Finito la comedia”? How would you interpret this phrase “Finito la comedia” mentioned in the tenth from the bottom sentence? PS: the whole story is about the afterlife. Thank you. PS: the excerpt is taken from “Kneller’s Happy Campers” written by an Israeli author, Etgar Keret. And I’m reading an English translation. the context: Gelfand promised his parents he’d call every day, and right from the first block he started looking for a phone. “Take it easy, man,” I told him. “You been in South America, you been in India, you blew your brains out with a dumdum slug. Stop behaving like a fucking Boy Scout at summer camp.” “Get off my case, Mordy. I’m warning you,” Gelfand snarled and kept driving. “Just look at this place. Get a load of the characters around here. Tell you the truth, I dunno why I came with you.” The people outside looked a lot like the ones in our neighborhood—their eyes kinda dim, and dragging their feet. The only difference was that Gelfand didn’t know them—which was enough to make him paranoid. “I’m not being paranoid. Don’t you get it? They’re all Arabs.” “So what if they’re Arabs?” I asked. “So what? I dunno. Arabs—suicides—doesn’t that psych you out, even a little? What if they figure out we’re Israeli?” “I guess they’ll kill us again. Can’t you get it into your skull they don’t give a flyin’ fuck? They’re dead. We’re dead. Finito la comedia.” “I dunno,” Gelfand muttered. “I don’t like Arabs. It isn’t even politics. It’s something ethnic.” “Tell me something, Uzi. Aren’t you fucked up enough without being a racist too?” “I’m not a racist.” Gelfand squirmed. “I just . . . Know what? Maybe I am a little racist. But just a little.”
Nov 5, 2019 4:01 AM
Answers · 3
Sometimes people use words of a different language to repeat what was just said for exaggerated stress or emphasis. A simple example is, "I am dead, finished, fini !". "Fini" isn't an English word, but it is also means 'dead' or 'finished' from the borrowed language (or the English speaker thinks it does). The speaker here adds it at the end to exaggerate or stress the fact "he is dead". It is similar with "finito la comedia". I am guessing it means "the comedy is over' from the language it was borrowed from. In English, some people may compare life to a "comedy" or a play. We all have parts, we laugh, we cry, we die. The (stage)play is over ! The speaker just said "They are dead, we are dead'. He adds "finito la comedia' (the show/play is over) just to exaggerate/repeat/stress that they are dead. Saying the words - even in incorrect or broken English/Italian (?) repeats the analogy that we are dead (the play is over) for emphasis.
November 5, 2019
Thank you.
November 6, 2019
My guess is that it is a misremembered quotation of the last line in the Italian opera Pagliacci: "La comedia es finita". The opera is set in a theater troupe, and in the final scene, one actor manipulates another actor into killing his lover in the middle of a play. The man who kills his lover then tells both the fake audience and the real one: "La comedia es finita", and the curtain falls. It's one of the most powerful moments in opera, and it led to the popularity of the phrase "the show's over." Even lots of people who aren't into opera know the line, although usually in misquoted versions like the one in the book. You can see the final scene here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i__XsGDYpb0
November 6, 2019
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Wu Ting
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
Learning Language
English