Public Life, Imaginary, and Identity in Contemporary Italian Film
Edited By Giancarlo Lombardi and Christian Uva
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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MARY P. WOOD
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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