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Italian Political Cinema

Public Life, Imaginary, and Identity in Contemporary Italian Film

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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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Giancarlo Lombardi and Christian Uva - Italian Political Cinema: Definitions and Goals

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| 3 →In early 2012, shortly before Mario Monti’s government began to inflame public opinion with its unpopular reform of the labour system, the political magazine asked two prominent leaders of the Democratic Party, Walter Veltroni and Matteo Renzi, to review Roberto Andò’s (2012), a political novel which was brought to the big screen a year later as (2013), and with great critical acclaim. In his novel, Andò narrates the switched identities of his two protagonists, identical twin brothers with strikingly different character traits: Enrico, the depressed, introverted political Democratic leader whose lack of charisma is perceived as symptomatic of the current crisis of the left, and his brother Giovanni, a brilliant philosopher who spent much of his life in a mental institution. Upon his release, Giovanni is summoned to impersonate Enrico, who mysteriously vanishes during the last, critical weeks of his political campaign. Giovanni’s , optimism and directness contrast with the defeatist attitude of a political caste that has long failed to communicate with its constituency. Performing as (and in lieu of) his brother, Giovanni achieves the impossible, reconnecting with a disenchanted electorate and inspiring new faith in the purpose of Italian politics. Veltroni, who comes to embody the voice of a generation of politicians asked by their younger peers to step aside and make room for the future, captures, in his reading of Andò’s novel, the indictment of a political class ‘that is often too removed from the real life of its voters’. Renzi, the politician most vocal...

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