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Italian Political Cinema

Public Life, Imaginary, and Identity in Contemporary Italian Film


Edited By 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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Gaetana Marrone - Italian Political Cinema: The Early Masters


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Still capture from Le mani sulla città, by Francesco Rosi (Galatea)


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Italian Political Cinema: The Early Masters

The Prospects for Political Cinema

In 2013, on the occasion of the release of Viva la libertà, Roberto Andò explained that his film was born from a ‘desire for the moral and political reconstruction of our Country’.1 Through two identical twin brothers, but diametrically opposed in character, he compares differing approaches to life and politics and exposes a complex game of fraudulent deception. Andò points to the failure of the political ruling class to convey a collective vision and to the crisis of the historical left as contributing to the loss of all certainties plaguing contemporary Italy.2 His portrayal of the ineffective and loquacious Italian political scene and the flagrant attributes of its leadership, places the director within the political cinematic tradition of Francesco Rosi. Andò denounces the end of an era and the advent of politics as a ‘permanent invention of reality. As an imposture’.3 Thus, the breaking down of a certain way of interpreting ‘political’ processes: the generation of the New Millennium has been deprived of the cultural and ← 17 | 18 → social ideals which once inspired the richness and variety of national cinema. In this context, Andò’s fleeting reference to Federico Fellini’s death in 1993, and how television paraded his body in Studio 5 at Cinecittà as a trophy-spectacle, calls...

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