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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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Luca Caminati - Gianni Amelio’s Lamerica and the National Body Politics

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Still capture from Lamerica, by Gianni Amelio (Alia Film, Cecchi Gori Group – Tiger Cinematografica, RAI-Radiotelevisione Italiana (Rete 1), Arena Films, Vega Film, Canal Plus Productions)



 

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LUCA CAMINATI

Gianni Amelio’s Lamerica and the National Body Politics

Marx writes that ‘all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice […] the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce’.1 In the first scenes of Gianni Amelio’s Lamerica (1994) we are confronted with a cinematic equivalent of Marx’s statement. Lamerica is in fact a (hi)story twice-told which investigates Italy’s past and present political condition by means of a historic parallel between two different moments in the histories of two countries. The director Gianni Amelio wears Albanian glasses, so to speak, to explore Italy’s present and past by comparing how the notions of nation state and national identity were put into question by Italy’s colonial adventure in Albania, and how these same beliefs are nowadays challenged and displaced by the new structure(s) of ‘Empire’ (as Hardt and Negri define the current space of late capitalism and multinational market expansion).2 The film, while addressing the dramatic events of Albania in the early 1990s, points directly to two specific periods in Italian history – the fascist regime and the emigration to America of the 1930s, and the present era of neo-capitalism – in order to explore the relations between the two countries in two different times, both...

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