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Italian Political Cinema

Public Life, Imaginary, and Identity in Contemporary Italian Film

Series:

Giancarlo Lombardi and Christian Uva

Despite the powerful anti-political impulses that have pervaded Italian society in recent years, Italian cinema has sustained and renewed its longstanding engagement with questions of politics, both in the narrow definition of the term, and in a wider understanding that takes in reflections on public life, imaginary, and national identity. This book explores these political dimensions of contemporary Italian cinema by looking at three complementary strands: the thematics of contemporary political film from a variety of perspectives; the most prominent directors currently engaged in this filone; and case studies of the films that best represent this engagement. Conceived and edited by two Italian film scholars working in radically different academic settings, Italian Political Cinema brings together a wide array of critical positions and research from Italy, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. The tripartite structure and international perspective create a volume that is an accessible entry-point into a subject that continues to attract critical and cultural attention, both inside and outside of academia.

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Part Three: Films

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Part Three Films Production still from Cosmonauta, by Susanna Nicchiarelli (Fandango, Rai Cinema) Courtesy of Federica Ceraolo Nicoletta Marini-Maio Susanna Nicchiarelli’s Cosmonauta: The Space Race, or When Communist Girls Dreamed of the Moon Susanna Nicchiarelli’s first feature, Cosmonauta (2009) is a historical teen movie set at the time of the Space Race between Soviet Union and the United State. Luciana (Miriana Raschillà), the rebellious fifteen-year-old protagonist, claims feminist agency and political space in her personal life and in her neighbourhood’s Federation of Italian Communist Youth (FGCI). She proudly tells her mother Rosalba (Claudia Pandolfi) that she is happy to have a room of her own, evoking Virginia Woolf ’s semi- nal text.1 She speaks to one of her classmates, Fiorella (Chiara Arrighi), about the political role of women in the class struggle and convinces her to join the group. Luciana follows the lead of her double adult character, her mentor and communist activist Marisa (Susanna Nicchiarelli), who guides her through the selection to represent the youth section of the local Unione Donne in Italia (UDI) in a journey to Moscow with the Italian Communist delegation. In one of the final scenes of the movie, Marisa reads to Luciana a newspaper article about the first female cosmonaut, Valentina Tereshkova, on a Soviet space mission: ‘Valentina smiles and the women on Earth, too, filled with hope that isn’t utopia anymore. Would they all like to go to the Moon? They simply want to have the freedom to choose their destiny, like her’.2...

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