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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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Millicent Marcus - Gomorra by Matteo Garrone: ‘La normalità dello sfacelo’


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Still capture from Gomorra, by Matteo Garrone (Fandango, Rai Cinema, Sky)


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Gomorra by Matteo Garrone: ‘La normalità dello sfacelo’1

Amidst the many scenes of carnage that punctuate Garrone’s film, the one that physically assaults the body of the viewer, causing a kinetic reaction of astonishing intensity, is ironically a scene of a simulated violence. I am referring to the moment in which the adolescent Totò must take a bullet in his chest (albeit protected by a giubotto anti-proiettile) as a form of initiation into the junior ranks of the Camorra. Witnessing this ordeal, it is impossible not to flinch when Totò falls back from the force of the bullet’s impact. This is the film’s most acute example of Garrone’s expressive strategy throughout Gomorra – to immerse us in the brute materiality of the malavita campana without the buffers of familiar iconographies, conventional dramaturgies, or obvious stylistic mediations to protect us from the raw force of its blows. ‘Volevo che fra lo spettatore e la realtà inquadrata non ci fosse alcun commento aggiuntivo’, Garrone explained in a 2008 interview with Emilio Cozzi.

Ho ridotto al minimo i movimenti di macchina, gli zoom, i dolly, gli interventi musicali, avvalendomene solo quando non potevo evitarlo: l’obbiettivo è che chi guarda il film senta gli odori di ciò che lo circonda. Lo spettatore dev’esser immerso in quello che vede senza che null’altro lo condiziona.2

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