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Italian Political Cinema

Public Life, Imaginary, and Identity in Contemporary Italian Film

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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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Claudio Bisoni - Paolo Sorrentino: Between Engagement and savoir faire

Extract

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Still capture from Le conseguenze dell’amore, by Paolo Sorrentino (Fandango, Indigo Film, Medusa Film)



 

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CLAUDIO BISONI

Paolo Sorrentino: Between Engagement and savoir faire

Introduction

Even before La grande bellezza (2013) triumphed with the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2014, the films of its director, Paolo Sorrentino, had been long considered works of ‘industrial’ auteur cinema:1 they could compete successfully in international festivals thanks to a negotiation of an individual visual style and characters that are firmly rooted within Italian society. Nevertheless, Sorrentino’s work has not found unanimous critical praise. Several unresolved questions have emerged in relation to the potential of the films as ‘engaged’ texts; questions that have tended to ask precisely how Sorrentino’s work fits into the history of Italian political cinema, and in what ways can it be viewed as an evolution of previous traditions.

The attribution of a political identity to a group of films is a process which will depend, on the one hand, on certain characteristics of the texts themselves, and on the other, on the various processes that take place during their cultural reception. For this reason, my analysis is based on the intersection of certain textual characteristics of Sorrentino’s films with their social reception and commentary, and I include particular emphasis on film criticism and the Italian press. In the following section, I read the ← 251 | 252 → style of...

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