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Destination Italy

Representing Migration in Contemporary Media and Narrative


Emma Bond, Guido Bonsaver and Federico Faloppa

Italy is one of the most recent immigratory destinations in Europe, having long been one of the continent’s most important sources of emigration. Due to its strategic position in the Mediterranean, the Italian peninsula is a crossroads of complex transnational movements and represents a unique and dynamic context for the study of contemporary migration and its representation through the diverse channels of media, literature and film.
The product of a two-year interdisciplinary research project into representations of migration to Italy, this volume brings together scholarly contributions from the fields of migration studies, linguistics, media, literature and film studies as well as essays by practitioners and activists. It provides both a multi-faceted snapshot of how diverse representations of immigration capture experiences and affect decision-making dynamics and an in-depth study of how media, literature and cinema contribute to the public perception of migrants within the destination culture.
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Migration Told Through Noir Conventions in La sconosciuta and Gomorra

← 376 | 377 →PAOLO RUSSO


This chapter aims to analyse the narrative potential of genre in contemporary Italian films that represent stories of immigrants. Critics tend to consider the place of race, ethnic and national origin in films through the lens of common categories such as the Other or cultural, geographical and social boundaries. Because migration tends to be addressed as a social issue now at the very top of political agendas, these works tend to be analysed accordingly as social problem films or from a more anthropological perspective that favours a realist approach. With the notable exception of comedy, Italian cinema had abandoned genres almost entirely at least since the mid-1980s. In the last few years though, there has been a resurgence of genres with the advent of a first and a second wave of a new generation of filmmakers along with some more established ones. In particular, the number and relevance of recent Italian noir films seem to participate in that successful cycle of the so-called global noir that critics like Desser and Fay and Nieland see as an ideal filmic device to screen the anxieties and the complex web of conflicts that pervade societies in the contemporary age and that, as concerns migration specifically, problematize and at the same time transcend national borders.1 The two case studies that follow – ← 377 | 378 →Giuseppe Tornatore’s La sconosciuta (2006) and Matteo Garrone’s Gomorra (2008) – exemplify this trend at best, showing how the generic conventions of both traditional and revisionist film noir can be employed to...

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