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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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Postfeminist (D)au(gh)teurs: Sofia Coppola and the Girl’s Voyage to Italy in Somewhere

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FIONA HANDYSIDE

ANNA PRADERIO: What relationship do you have with Italy, and with Italian cinema? SOFIA COPPOLA: Of course, my father’s family is Italian, so I feel close to Italian culture. And he raised us on watching the films of Fellini and other filmmakers that he admired, so I have great admiration for the history of Italian film.

— INTERVIEW on the occasion of Sofia Coppola winning the Golden Lion at the 2010 Venice Film Festival1

It may seem unusual, or even perverse, to talk about a US film, directed by a US citizen, starring US actors (Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning), and produced by Focus Features, the small ‘speciality films’ unit of Universal Pictures, its name alone speaking to the global and homogenizing ambitions of Hollywood cinema, in a book dedicated to Italian cinema. I am doing so to make several polemical and intertwined points: that commentary upon a national cinema can come from outside of its borders; that national cinemas circulate within an international arena; that views from outside can open up national cinemas to unexpected influences and ideas; and that film cultures are formed as much in the crucible of exhibition and reception as they are production. Furthermore, there is a long history of transnational exchange between Hollywood and Italian cinema, as each nation consumes the other’s ← 129 | 130 → cinematic products (meaning not only their films, but also their studios, stars, directors and so on). Federico Fellini’s La dolce vita (1960), a...

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