By Seba Atienza, Argentina
“I was just a boy, working as assistant bartender at the bar of the Festival del Cine de Mar de Plata. Everyone liked me because I treated every customer like a big star: they thought it was my style, a manner that I had practised, but the truth was that I knew nothing about cinema and I was afraid of looking foolish.
“One evening, I was serving a friendly Italian customer and made a joke that made him laugh a lot. When he got up to leave, I saw that he had left a ticket for the major preview on the next evening. It was the most keenly awaited event – almost everyone had asked me to give them one of those tickets, but they had been sold-out for months.
“I decided to take advantage of that unexpected gift: when would I next have the opportunity to take part in such an exclusive event? I didn’t even have suitable clothes for the occasion, so I kept on the shirt and tie that I used at work and presented myself at the main cinema clutching the precious ticket.
“I entered that beautiful baroque room, found my chair and sat down, just in time for the presentation of the film. When the master of ceremonies called the director on stage, I recognized the generous Italian customer. I had served a drink to a legend without knowing it! When he saw me, he winked at me from the stage and smiled.
“The presentation ended with applause, the lights dimmed and the credits began to roll up the screen. Just over two hours later, when the lights came back on, my life had changed forever. I laughed, I cried, I fell in love with the story and those characters. For two hours, I was transported away to another time and place. Behind its gentle façade, that movie was incredibly intense and at the end it was difficult to say whether it was sweet or bitter. A perfect balance, stylish and unforgettable.
“The next evening, with my eyes and heart still brimming with that experience, I tried to translate that magical alchemy into the language that I know best: mixology. I chose only Italian ingredients and after an entire night of work, the Commedia all’ Italiana was born.”