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New Visions of the Child in Italian Cinema


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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Italian Teen Film and the Female Auteur



‘As a future-directed politics, as a politics of transformation, girls and the widest range of representations of, discourses on, and sites of becoming a woman are crucial to feminism.’

— CATHERINE DRISCOLL (Girls: Feminine Adolescence in Popular Culture and Cultural Theory, 9)

In the new millennium, many films have been released in Italy with an address to a teenage audience. The focus of films that enjoyed relative commercial success such as Tre metri sopra il cielo [Three Metres Above Heaven] (Luca Lucini, 2004), Notte prima degli esami [Night Before the Exams] (Fausto Brizzi, 2006), Scusa ma ti chiamo amore [Sorry if I Love You] (Federico Moccia, 2008), and Amore 14 [Love 14] (Federico Moccia, 2009), is romance and at the films’ end the youthful protagonists either find love (in the case of Scusa ma ti chiamo amore) or (more frequently) do not. However, for the protagonists of these films, romantic disappointment does not carry long-term catastrophic consequences and characters fall back on friends and family for emotional support. In the end, the audience understands the failed romance plot as part of the coming-of-age narrative that is at the heart of teen film.

Paolo Virzì’s commercially successful coming-of-age film Caterina va in città [Caterina in the Big City] (2003) also underlines the resilience of the eponymous teen protagonist, whose vision and drive is ultimately unencumbered by several setbacks. Towards the end of the film, Caterina’s ← 307 | 308 → father Giancarlo rides off...

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