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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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Danielle Hipkins - Nessuno mi può giudicare: Making Over the Prostitute from a Post-Feminist Perspective

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Still capture from Nessuno mi può giudicare, by Massimiliano Bruno (Italian International Film, Rai Cinema)



 

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DANIELLE HIPKINS

Nessuno mi può giudicare: Making over the Prostitute from a Post-Feminist Perspective

A Youtube video posted in June 2013,1 above the tagline ‘siamo tutti puttane’, shows editor of the centre-right daily Il Foglio, Giuliano Ferrara, applying red lipstick. This act was part of a protest organised by his newspaper over the sentencing of Silvio Berlusconi to seven years in prison and banishment from public office for paying underage Karima El Mahroug for sex. The image speaks to the importance of gendering prostitution in Italian national discourse: the pronoun may be tutti, but the noun is still gendered female, retaining its stigmatising qualities, and completely ignoring the emergence of terms ‘sex work’ and ‘escort’ that present a different notion of agency to that of puttana. Ferrara’s action, which might otherwise serve to highlight the ‘perfomativity’ of gender, re-inscribes gender difference through its comic absurdity and right-wing address. His ‘makeover’ draws attention to its exceptionality through the deliberately clumsy application of the lipstick (without a mirror). Intent on provoking polemics, either through laughter and/or offence, Ferrara instead underlines how we are not all ‘puttane’, but how it is still the masquerade of femininity, signified via red lipstick, that is the shorthand for moral, sexual, and social abjection. At the same time, its laughter disavows nervous awareness of the...

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