Public Life, Imaginary, and Identity in Contemporary Italian Film
Giancarlo Lombardi and Christian Uva - Italian Political Cinema: Definitions and Goals
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GIANCARLO LOMBARDI AND CHRISTIAN UVA
Italian Political Cinema: Definitions and Goals
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 Panorama asked two prominent leaders of the Democratic Party, Walter Veltroni and Matteo Renzi, to review Roberto Andò’s Il trono vuoto (2012), a political novel which was brought to the big screen a year later as Viva la libertà (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 joie de vivre, 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...
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