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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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Mary P. Wood - Noir Style and Political Cinema


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Still capture from L’industriale, by Giuliano Montaldo (BiBi Film Tv, Rai Cinema)


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Noir Style and Political Cinema

Giulio Manfredonia’s 2011 hit Qualunquemente starts with a close-up of hands sorting through a pile of photographs, considering each in turn before agreeing on Cetto La Qualunque, a short sequence reprising many of the traits of Italian film noir, before moving to the broad comedy that characterises the rest of the film. Noir conventions suggest that these hands belong to the men in dark suits typical of representations of the mafia, and that they are selecting someone they can work with, for nefarious purposes. The placing of this sequence has the effect of contaminating the subsequent comedy, suggesting a less benign interpretation of Cetto’s aim to move into political life. I have argued that Italian film noir is politicised,1 Italian political film-makers finding that noir conventions and the investigative format of American thrillers and detective stories provided flexible vehicles through which to explore the murders, unsolved mysteries, corruption, assassinations, and social problems that have been constant features in Italian civic and political life for the more than sixty years.

The most complex and technically significant reworkings of Italian political film noir occurred in the 1970s and 1990s, the latter period introducing new heroes in magistrates and policemen investigating corruption and anti-democratic abuses of power in the wake of the Tangentopoli scandals.2...

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