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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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Laura Di Bianco - Francesca Comencini: Women Outside the Polis


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Still capture from Lo spazio bianco, by Francesca Comencini (Fandango, Rai Cinema)


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Francesca Comencini: Women Outside the Polis

Since the mid-1980s, Francesca Comencini has alternated between fiction and documentary films that focus on social and political matters central to contemporary Italian society. Particularly in the last decade, through films centred upon complex female characters dealing with male power, she articulates a discourse on the condition of women in twenty-first-century Italy: their struggle to reconcile motherhood and paid work, the challenges of motherhood outside the family structure, and the objectification of women’s bodies, all themes that have also been at the centre of the feminist political agenda since the 1970s.

In Comencini’s cinema, women’s subjectivity is repeatedly set in urban contexts, creating a correspondence between the characters’ identity and the space they inhabit. In this article, which is part of a larger research project on Italian women film-makers and their representation of urban space,1 I shall concentrate on four of Comencini’s feature films: Mi piace lavorare (Mobbing) (2004), A casa nostra (2006), Lo spazio bianco (2009), and Un giorno speciale (2012), which all engage in a discourse on women’s bodies, inscribing them into the urban landscape. I argue that in these films, women live outside the polis, that is, the political entity (classically the ‘city-state’) ruled by a body of citizens. The image of the city, in all the...

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