All bedroom and kitchen

James Brandon

Senior Member
English + French - UK
In the movie, "The Conformist" (by Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970), we have the following remark made by the male lead character, talking about his future wife: He even mocks her to the confessing priest by calling her “all bedroom and kitchen”, and joins the fascist organization as a killer and spy [...].

See here: http://www.classicartfilms.com/conformist-the-1970

The character is implying, as I understand, that his future wife is good either for the bedroom (i.e. for sex) or for the kitchen (i.e. to prepare food and play the part of a traditional housewife), but has no intellectual qualities to speak of.

I was wondering whether the expression was invented for the purpose of the film. I have never heard it in English. Or is it a translation from the Italian?

Insight welcome. Thanks.
 
  • CPA

    Senior Member
    British English/Italian - bilingual
    It's a translation from the Italian: Sto per costruirmi una vita normale, sposo una piccolo borghese, mediocre, piena di idee meschine, di piccole ambizioni meschine. Si, tutta letto e cucina! :)
     

    James Brandon

    Senior Member
    English + French - UK
    Thanks. Is it a set expression that is (or was) used, or was it made up by the film maker? In other words, is the English a mere literal translation of an established idiomatic expression, or is it simply a case of translating what is said in the movie in Italian, which is ad-hoc, as it were?

    And the Italian means 'bed and kitchen' and not 'bedroom and kitchen', right?
     

    CPA

    Senior Member
    British English/Italian - bilingual
    I'd say Bertolucci made it up, but it echoes what is an established idiomatic expression: tutta casa e chiesa.

    And yes, the Italian means "bed and kitchen".
     

    James Brandon

    Senior Member
    English + French - UK
    Fascinating. So he made up an expression that echoed an existing expression, which would translate as "all home and church", meaning a boring and devout housewife, I suppose. Is the expression in question still used, and is the expression invented by Bertolucci more widely used in Italian? In other words, was it adopted following the film?
     

    CPA

    Senior Member
    British English/Italian - bilingual
    "Tutta casa e chiesa" is widely used, ironically even to refer to a man ("tutto") in the sense of all work and no play. I've never heard Bertolucci's expression.
     

    Pincadilly

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    Is the expression in question still used, and is the expression invented by Bertolucci more widely used in Italian? In other words, was it adopted following the film?
    No. Essere tutto/a casa e chiesa is indeed commonly used, but Bertolucci's expression isn't. He shaped it out from the first one.
     

    James Brandon

    Senior Member
    English + French - UK
    OK and thank you. This is a complete and interesting answer that covers the topic well. My Italian is very, very basic and of course I saw the movie on DVD and was reading the subtitles: the expression caught my attention.
     
    Last edited:

    giginho

    Senior Member
    Italiano & Piemontese
    For sake of completeness:

    Jokingly, the set phrase could be (I've heard and used it quite a lot!): "è tutta casa e chiesa, ma bisogna vedere cosa combina nel tragitto!" meaning: "she's all home and church but you have to check what she really does in the journey between the house and the church" that is, a very devote and boring person cuold be a different man/woman when you can't see him/her! Maybe is something like: "never judge a book by its cover".
     

    James Brandon

    Senior Member
    English + French - UK
    So, we are to assume that such women are models of righteous behaviour in the home and in the church, but anything goes in between, right? Well, in Russia, as we saw with Pussy Riot, even a church can be the scene of lewd and provocative behaviour of a kind that would shock a woman who was "all home and church"! Nothing is sacred any more... :p
     
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