Posts under tag: Italian Cinema
Sergio Rigoletto, Associate Professor of Italian and Cinema Studies, has published an essay entitled “(Un)dressing authenticity: Neorealist stardom and Anna Magnani in the postwar era (1945-48)” in the Journal of Italian Cinema and Media (Vol.6 Number 8, 2018; pp. 389-403). The essay explores Magnani’s significance as a populist icon during the postwar years and unpacks some of the meanings behind a notion that has been frequently associated with Magnani: authenticity. Focusing on the study of Magnani’s costumes in Rome Open City (Rossellini 1945) and in a number of popular comedies made between 1945 and 1948, alongside the clothes worn by the actress in her off-screen appearances, the essay reveals some of the crucial ways in which Magnani’s clothing staged several tensions which were particularlu useful to the institutional discourse of Neorealism to negotiate the transition from fascism to postwar democracy (e.g. audience recognition vs. misrecognition; historical truth vs. ideological mystification; individuality vs. collectivism). The essay proposes a way of thinking about the notion of authenticity that may allow us to move beyond a “reflectionist” framework, in which the authentic is simply a synonym for what looks real or original. Instead, through an analysis of Magnani’s star narrative and the function of clothing within this narrative, Rigoletto argues that authenticity reveals itself as a performative effect, unfolding through the opening of a space of absence in which the experience of the “inauthentic” is repeatedly confronted. Under these terms, the essay demonstrates that the category of authenticity functions as an effect of the inauthentic, rather than simply as its opposite.
On Thursday Nov. 16th Prof. Renga (Chair of Italian and French at Ohio State University) will give a lecture on the forced exile of several homosexual inmates during fascism as represented and memorialized in a number of Italian documentaries and fiction films.
Nov. 16th (5pm)
In 2003, multi-term ex-prime minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi stated: ‘I understand the difficulties of teaching democracy to a people who for nearly forty years have known only dictatorship.’ Interviewer Nicholas Farrell prompted: ‘Like Italy at the fall of Fascism.’ To this, Berlusconi infamously declared ‘That was a much more benign dictatorship; Mussolini did not murder anyone. Mussolini sent people on holidays to confine them to banishment to small islands such as Ponza or Maddalena which are now exclusive resorts.’ The promotion of internal exile (‘confino’) as holiday is particularly interesting when considering the experience of men sent to the islands for suspicion of ‘pederasty’ (as it was referred to at the time). As this talk discusses, gay men found a certain amount of freedom on an island prison where conditions were grim, barracks were overcrowded, illness was rampant, jobs were unavailable, and the average stipend was only four lire per day. At the same time, the experience of gay men sent into internal exile is cloaked in silence. The lecture interrogates this silence by looking at two feature films, three documentaries, and a graphic novel that treat, to different degrees, the experiences of gay men sent into internal exile.
Assistant Professor of Italian and Cinema Studies Sergio Rigoletto has published Masculinity and Italian Cinema: Sexual Politics, Social Conflict and Male Crisis in the 1970s (Edinburgh University Press, 2014). Rigoletto’s book is a study of how Italian films re-envisage male identity in response to sexual liberation. Italian cinema has traditionally used the trope of an inadequate man in crisis to reflect on the country’s many social and political upheavals. Masculinity and Italian Cinema examines how this preoccupation with male identity becomes especially acute in the 1970s when a set of more diverse and inclusive images of men emerge in response to the rise of feminism and gay liberation. Through an analysis of the way Italian films explore anxieties about male sexuality and femininity, the book shows how such anxieties also intersect with particular preoccupations about national identity and political engagement.
Through careful historicisation, theoretical argumentation, and scrupulous formal analysis, Sergio Rigoletto reveals 1970s Italian cinema as a peculiarly rich archive for thinking through the impasses and complexities of masculinity and its representation. This book refreshes and enlarges our understanding of the cinematic and sexual politics of this crucial period.
—John David Rhodes, University of Sussex
Masculinity and Italian cinema offers a bold and convincing new reading of Italian cinema of the 1970s as a period of self-conscious reflection on the meaning of masculinity. Rigoletto’s fascinating close readings of key films and lucid application of theory bring gender politics into the mainstream of Italian film history.
—Danielle Hipkins, University of Exeter
Assistant Professor of Italian and Cinema Studies Sergio Rigoletto has published a co-edited volume entitled Popular Italian Cinema (Palgrave Macmillan). The collection includes two essays by Prof. Rigoletto: “The Fair and the Museum: Framing the Popular’ (co-written with L. Bayman) [Open Access Postprint] and “Laughter and the Popular in Lina Wertmüller’s The Seduction of Mimì” [Open Access Postprint].
‘This volume really does represent a shift in thinking on Italian cinema, and the many fine, young scholars who contribute to this book show the direction that future criticism of Italian film will take. It is a valuable contribution to cinema studies on many levels, and I was delighted to have read it.’
– Peter Bondanella, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, Film Studies and Italian, Indiana University, USA
Prof. Rigoletto has also published an essay, “Contesting National Memory: Masculine Dilemmas and Oedipal Scenarios in Bernardo Bertolucci’s Strategia del ragno and Il conformist” [Ingenta] [Open Access] in Italian Studies. The essay is a reading of the theme of the oedipal conflict between father and son in these two films as an exploration of the problematic relation between Italy’s post-1968 and its fascist past.