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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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Christian Uva - The New Cinema of Political Engagement


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Still capture from Diaz, by Daniele Vicari (Fandango, Mandragora Movies, Le Pacte)


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The New Cinema of Political Engagement

If the joint success of Gomorra and Il divo in 2008 reignited the critical debate on the possible resurgence of an Italian ‘political cinema’, the near simultaneous 2012 theatre releases of another pair – Romanzo di una strage by Marco Tullio Giordana, and Diaz by Daniele Vicari – threw into relief that an investment in civil engagement (to which the 2008 works subscribe) had never vanished from Italian screens. I refer here to a set of extremely varied films that share the goal of investigating Italian identity without limiting themselves to its present socio-political configuration, but rather probe the nodes between the past and the present in which yet unresolved questions of a political-juridical nature are situated. These are works that, as per Anton Giulio Mancino’s definition, evoke in the viewer ‘precise doubts or queries regarding official and institutionally authorised political truths’, therefore placing the films within the subgenre of the politico-indiziario, which hinges on the portrayal of ‘controversial truths that, from the second world war through the present, have been peremptorily erased from everyone’s consciousness’.1

This is the genre of film that identified itself tout court in the 1970s as ‘Italian political cinema’, or rather, a cinema of consumo impegnato, the plots of which mirror some of the most disturbing cases that came...

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