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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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Giovanna De Luca - Placido Rizzotto and Segreti di Stato: Italian Investigative Cinema and Memory


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Still capture from Placido Rizzotto, by Pasquale Scimeca (Arbash, Rai Cinema)


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Placido Rizzotto and Segreti di Stato: Italian Investigative Cinema and Memory

When Pasquale Scimeca’s film Placido Rizzotto was released in 2000, Rizzotto’s earthly remains hadn’t yet been found, and his death was considered a cold case, one of many that have left an ill-explored trail of dry blood since the founding of the Italian Republic. Film-makers have brought to the big screen their interpretations of such cases in an attempt to enlighten audiences about historical and political issues often ignored or swept under the rug by officials. The Rizzotto case, along with the massacre of Portella della Ginestra, are two crimes portrayed by directors of investigative cinema. In this paper I will discuss Placido Rizzotto and Paolo Benvenuti’s film Segreti di Stato (2003), arguing the importance of producing films about unsolved crimes that more often than not were mishandled (or not handled at all) by the authorities, for these movies serve to keep the memory of such incidents alive, and they enable viewers to interpret and reinterpret history.

Scimeca’s movie is based on the true story of the thirty-four-year-old Sicilian union leader involved in the legal fight to provide land grants to peasants. His political activism led to his death at the hands of the young Corleone mafia boss Luciano Leggio, known as Liggio. After Rizzotto’s murder, Liggio...

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