Tragedia all’italiana

Italian Cinema and Italian Terrorisms, 1970-2010

by Alan O'Leary (Author)
©2011 Monographs XVI, 284 Pages
Series: Italian Modernities, Volume 9


Cinema has played a key role in articulating the impact and legacies of the so-called anni di piombo in Italy, the years of intra-national political terrorism that lasted from 1969 until well into the 1980s. Tragedia all’italiana offers an analytical exploration of Italian cinema’s representation and refraction of those years, showing how a substantial and still growing corpus of films has shaped the ways in which Italians have assimilated and remembered the events of this period.
This is the first monograph in English on terrorism and film in Italy, a topic that is attracting the interest of a wide range of scholars of film, cultural studies and critical terrorism studies. It provides novel analytical categories for an intriguing corpus of films and offers careful accounts of works and genres as diverse as La meglio gioventú, Buongiorno, notte, the poliziottesco (cop film) and the commedia all’italiana. The author argues that fiction film can provide an effective frame for the elaboration of historical experience but that the cinema is symptomatic both of its time and of the codes of the medium itself – in terms of its elisions, omissions and evasions as well as its emphases. The book is a study of a body of films that has elaborated the experience of terrorism as a fascinating and even essential part of the heritage of modern Italy.


XVI, 284
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2011 (April)
terrorism of the anni di piombo (years of lead) in Italy, 1969c.1984 The Kidnap in the Cinema Italian cinema Italian Terrorisms/Italian Film
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2011. XVI, 284 pp.

Biographical notes

Alan O'Leary (Author)

Alan O’Leary teaches Italian film and modern culture at the University of Leeds. He has published extensively on terrorism in Italian cinema, including an Italian monograph (also entitled Tragedia all’italiana, 2007) and an edited volume, Imagining Terrorism (with Pierpaolo Antonello, 2009), as well as on contemporary popular Italian film (the ‘cinepanettone’). He co-edits the annual film issue of The Italianist.


Title: Tragedia all’italiana