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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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Dana Renga - Romanzo criminale as Male Melodrama: ‘It is in reality always too late’


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Still capture from Romanzo criminale, by Michele Placido (Cattleya, Babe Films,  Crime Novel Films Limited, Warner Bros Pictures)


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Romanzo criminale as Male Melodrama: ‘It is in reality always too late’1

For the fascination with fallen men continues unabated.

— J. STAIGER, ‘Film Noir as Male Melodrama’, 2008

During the fast-paced title sequence of Michele Placido’s 2005 Romanzo criminale, adapted from Giancarlo De Cataldo’s eponymous novel from 2002, the viewer is introduced to nine of the film’s characters in just over twenty seconds, all of whom belong to the criminal organisation known as the Banda della Magliana which was primarily active in and around Rome from the mid-1970s through the early 1990s. Not a mafia per se, the Banda is said to have conspired with Cosa Nostra, the Camorra, Italian terrorist organisations, and the Italian State, and was allegedly involved in several of the most traumatic events of the anni di piombo, including the kidnapping of Aldo Moro in 1978 and the bombing of the Bologna train station in 1980.2

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