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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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Nicoletta Marini-Maio - Before and After Silvio: A Corpus for Us All


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Still capture from Quando c’era Silvio, by Beppe Cremagnani and Enrico Deaglio (Luben Production)


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Before and After Silvio: A Corpus for Us All

Rarely has a contemporary political leader received more cinema attention than Silvio Berlusconi. Since Federico Fellini’s Ginger e Fred in 1986, more than thirty-three narrative or documentary films focusing on Berlusconi – or evoking him in a substantial way – have been made, targeting national and international audiences. Currently one more film by director Roberta Torre is in pre-production and presumably more will be made in the near future. Even for a political leader of his longevity, the proliferation of films on Berlusconi is unprecedented and this phenomenon invites attention. This essay, which is an extract of a monograph on Berlusconi in cinema, offers first insight into the representation of Silvio Berlusconi’s cultural and political significations in film and provides an ample cinematic corpus for further analysis.1

The idea that propelled my research resides in the conviction that the cinema can capture the cultural configurations that Italian society has constructed of itself, the system(s) of power it has created, and its underlying symbols. As Pierpaolo Antonello points out, the cinema reinterprets the past – even a very recent past – in a way that can question the ‘strutture stabilizzate proprie del potere (e dell’immagine condivisa che si ha di esso)’ [the established structures of power (and of the shared...

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