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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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Giancarlo Lombardi - Viva la libertà: Language, Politics, and Consensus

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Production still from Viva la libertà, by Roberto Andò (BiBi Film Tv, Rai Cinema) Photo by Lia Pasqualino



 

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GIANCARLO LOMBARDI

Viva la libertà: Language, Politics, and Consensus

Politics and cinema partake of the coexistence of bluff and genius, says one of the characters of Roberto Andò’s Viva la libertà (2013), setting up the tone for a complex visual narrative that thrives on the reciprocal mirroring of these two worlds. If the object of political cinema, as Maurizio Grande indicates, is ‘the unmasking of a truth that is hidden or disguised’ Andò’s film could be described as political because it plays with masks and disguises by highlighting and denouncing the cinematographic, performative nature of politics.1 At the very core of the plot, the trope of mirroring is instantiated by the exchange of identity between the two protagonists, identical twin brothers with strikingly different character traits. Enrico, political leader of the opposition, is portrayed as a depressed, introverted man whose lack of charisma powerfully evokes the current crisis of the left; his brother Giovanni is instead a brilliant philosopher who spent much of his life in a mental institution, and upon his release is summoned to ← 399 | 400 → impersonate Enrico, mysteriously vanished during the last critical weeks of his political campaign.

Giovanni’s joie de vivre, optimism and directness starkly contrast with the gloomy defeatist attitude of a political caste that has long...

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