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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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Ruth Glynn - Marco Bellocchio and the ‘New’ Political Cinema


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Still capture from Vincere, by Marco Bellocchio (Offside S.r.l., Rai Cinema,  Celluloid Dreams, Istituto Luce, Sofica Soficinéma 4)


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Marco Bellocchio and the ‘New’ Political Cinema

For many readers, the inclusion of Marco Bellocchio (b. 1939) in a volume dedicated to new political cinema in Italy might appear anomalous. It is, after all, almost fifty years since his first feature film was released, a fact that grounds Bellocchio biographically among the ranks of Italy’s most senior film-makers (alongside Cavani, Bertolucci, and Amelio) and culturally in relation to the pre-1968 Italy of his youth and early adulthood. Moreover, although Bellocchio has enjoyed a reputation as a political film-maker, the validity of that reputation has been questioned on more than one occasion, not least in light of the inconsistent attention paid to political issues in his work.1 While his earliest films, I pugni in tasca (1965) and La Cina è vicina (1967), established Bellocchio’s reputation as an angry and prescient young cineaste, intent on exposing the pathological conditions created by Italy’s traditional values and its particular post-war socio-political dynamic, subsequent films continued their assault on Italian institutions – the church in Nel nome del padre (1971), the mainstream press in Sbatti il mostro in prima pagina (1972), the mental care system in Matti da slegare (1974) and military service in Marcia trionfale (1976) – in combination with a psychoanalytical interrogation that sometimes overshadowed political concerns. Thereafter, Bellocchio’s...

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