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New Visions of the Child in Italian Cinema

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Edited By Danielle Hipkins and Roger Pitt

The figure of the child has long been a mainstay of Italian cinema, conventionally interpreted as a witness of adult shortcomings, a vessel of innocence, hope and renewal, or an avatar of nostalgia for the (cinematic) past. New Visions of the Child in Italian Cinema challenges these settled categories of interpretation and reconsiders the Italian canon as it relates to the child. The book draws on a growing body of new work in the history and theory of children on film and is the first volume to bring together and to apply some of these new approaches to Italian cinema. Chapters in the book address aspects of industry and spectatorship and the varied film psychology of infancy, childhood and adolescence, as well as genres as diverse as silent cinema, contemporary teen movies, melodrama and film ethnography. The contributors engage with a wide range of modes and theories including neorealism, auteurism and contemporary postfeminism. The book maps out new roles for gender, the transnational, loss and mourning, and filmmaking itself, leading to a revised understanding of the child in Italian cinema.
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Subjectivity and the Ethnographic Gaze in Antonio Capuano’s Vito e gli altri

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ALEX MARLOW-MANN

Vito e gli altri [Vito and the Others] (1991) was the first film by Antonio Capuano, a forty-five-year-old Neapolitan set-designer. It was financed entirely through the Premio Solinas money Capuano won for his script and from state funding under article twenty-eight. Shot on 35mm for the risible budget of 200 million lire, it is an emotionally challenging and formally daring debut that stands out radically from the panorama of Italian films being produced at the time. Together with Mario Martone’s Morte di un matematico napoletano [Death of a Neapolitan Mathematician] (1992) and Pappi Corsicato’s Libera [Libera] (1993), it was soon seen as the beginning of a new tendency of regional filmmaking in the city – the New Neapolitan Cinema. Although the film was only seen by 4,600 spectators and was a box-office flop on its initial release, it received positive reviews and launched Capuano’s career, much of which has revolved around the depiction of troubled Neapolitan youth – Pianese Nunzio: 14 anni a Maggio [Sacred Silence] (1996), La guerra di Mario [Mario’s War] (2005) and L’amore buio [Dark Love] (2010). The film tells the story of Vito, an eleven-year-old Neapolitan boy. In the opening scenes of the film, Vito’s father, presumably suffering from some kind of total breakdown, murders his entire family, sparing Vito only at the last minute. Vito is entrusted to his neglectful aunt and uncle and thus begins his life on the street. The rest of the film is constructed out of fragmentary scenes...

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