Archive for July 2015

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[ecrea] Italian Quality Cinema

Sat Jul 25 18:12:05 GMT 2015

*Italian Quality Cinema: Institutions, Taste, Cultural Legitimation.*

*Special issue of «Comunicazioni Sociali», edited by Claudio Bisoni,
Danielle Hipkins, and Paolo Noto*

What defines and constructs the idea of /quality/ in contemporary
Italian cinema, from 2000 up to the present? Though related  debates
regarding television in Italy have adopted a meaning of the term rooted
in production values, in the context of cinema this question remains
opaque. In legislation, in press releases, reviews, academic studies and
in common discourse the idea of quality cinema is certainly present,
though it overlaps with arthouse and auteur cinema, it intersects with
the notion of political commitment, and it is officially defined by  the
category of the ‘national and cultural interest’ films promoted and
supported by the Ministry for Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism

Within public discourses, quality cinema, in order to function as such,
demands  processes of cultural legitimation. These processes rely upon
the work of certain institutions, critical discourses and audience
behavioural trends, all of which contribute –  despite (or as well as)
box office takings – to the formation of taste, the construction of
shared social categories and to the successful “function” of this kind
of product.

This special issue of /Comunicazioni sociali /aims to explore these
issues through a series of articles (min 4000- max 5000 words)
dedicated, albeit not necessarily limited, to the following questions: //


/Who goes to see “quality cinema”? /What is the geographical
distribution of the spectators of MiBACT-financed cinema, or the films
projected in arthouse cinemas? Are there any substantial differences
between Northern and Southern Italy, or between city centres and
peripheries? And how varied are such audiences in terms of social
stratification and gender? Are they undiscriminating or selective?//


/How does one sell “quality”? /Does this kind of cinema tend towards
traditional marketing models, or unconventional ones? What is the role
of social events (premières, presentations at festivals, etc.) in the
publicity process? Are there any noteworthy instances of crowdfunding or
crowdsourcing in this area?

/Where does “quality” go? /For decades, Italy has played the part of a
major international exporter of art house cinema. How active is that
role today? What kind of reception does Italian quality cinema find
outside its national borders? Which cultural agents favour the
distribution of these films (festivals, cultural institutes, university
modules, film clubs), and how do they operate? In what ways does this
cinema contribute to the construction of diasporic identities in
countries with significant Italian communities?//


/How is “quality” communicated? /What role does criticism play here, in
terms of the creation and definition of genre labels? Are there
differences between traditional forms of criticism and digital ones (or
generally the discussions of these films online)? In what ways is public
opinion formed around “cultural interest” cinema?//


/What are the effects of “quality cinema”? /Is there any convergence
between the planned objectives of the institutes that produce and
finance quality cinema (MiBACT, local film commissions, private and
institutional sponsors)? How can we measure the cultural value of
State-funded cinema, and how does the Italian case compare to
international counterparts? Does this cinema bolster or break down
processes of social distinction, or does it contain the potential to
integrate diverse communities?

Deadlines and information:

Abstracts, either in Italian or in English, min 400 max 600 words,
should be sent to (redazione.cs /at/
<mailto:(redazione.cs /at/>by September 1st 2015.

The contributors will receive notice of acceptance by September 15th 2015.

If accepted, articles must be submitted by December 31st 2015 for
anonymous peer-review.

For any queries please write to (paolo.noto2 /at/

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