Call for Papers: BIANCO E NERO journal, n. 3/2017
*Latin Lovers in Contemporary Italian Cinema*
Edited by Enrico Biasin and Catherine O’Rawe
In March 1994 Silvio Berlusconi, then a businessman, was elected to
the Italian parliament, becoming immediately Prime Minister (Ginsborg,
Asquer 2011). The presence of the Mediaset boss at the apex of
governmental power has been perhaps most widely discussed in terms of
its carnivalesque aspects, and Berlusconi’s political persona has been
most frequently understood as a contemporary variation of the Latin
Lover archetype (Rodotà 2005). His tenure saw a series of tensions
emerge, between Berlusconi as supporter of Family Days and as
protagonist of the murky bunga bunga parties at his Arcore residence
(cf. Travaglio, Gomez, Lillo 2009). Berlusconi removed distinctions
between the public sphere and the domestic one, endangering his
‘bourgeois respectability’ (Mosse 1985, 1998), and compromising his
gender identity in two major ways: firstly, by showcasing his sexual
and emotional difficulties, he contributed to the ‘feminization’ of
Italian popular culture. Secondly, by exaggerating his reputation as a
lover, he contributed to the excessive ‘masculinization’ of the
Bearing in mind this reshaping of the masculinity of one of the most
high-profile figures of the Italian social scene of the last two
decades, a similar process, activated by contemporary Italian popular
film with regard to its male protagonists, can be noted. The reluctant
spearhead of a national cinema ‘in transition’ (Zagarrio 2000), and
marked by an endemic lack of a robust industrial structure (Zagarrio,
2006), popular production – in particular the lucrative filone of the
cinepanettone (O’Leary 2013) – seems to illustrate one possible
pitfall that Mediterranean virility encounters: ‘A machismo which
denies even a suspicion of femininity in males [but that] often
oscillates with festivals of male transvestism or with other
manifestations of an insecure male identity’ (Gilmore 1982). In this
way the emblematic figure of the Latin seducer – ‘a model of masculine
identification so widely disseminated by the media as to become a
cliché through which Italians and non-Italians understand one another’
(Malossi 1996) – undergoes a dynamic reconfiguration (cfr. Reich 2000;
Reich 2006; O’Rawe 2014; Reich and O’Rawe 2015). The Latin Lover of
contemporary Italian cinema battles ever-present threats to his
phallic supremacy, and must engage in a bitter struggle against
himself, as well as against hostile societal and cultural forces,
giving rise to a ‘masquerade’, which, to paraphrase Joan Rivière (1986
), aims to conceal his femininity and to escape the
repercussions that its discovery might bring.
This issue of BIANCO E NERO n. 3/2017 brings together articles that
have as their focus the figure of the Latin Lover in Italian cinema
since the 1980s. Without wishing to limit prospective analyses, some
possible topics for exploration are:
- Textual representations of the Latin Lover. Ways in which films
represent, parody, and rework the figure of the Latin Lover, drawing
on acting styles from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s (from Rossano Brazzi to
Marcello Mastroianni, from Adriano Celentano to Jerry Calà, from Diego
Abatantuomo to Guido Nicheli and Christian De Sica).
- Gender performance through a national lens. The notion of ‘male
masquerade’ in relation to cultural features conventionally associated
with the Latin Lover tradition, and to their function in disavowing
the anxiety of the contemporary Italian male.
- Star performances. The construction of models of male stardom (Jerry
Calà, Diego Abatantuomo, Andrea Roncato, Christian De Sica, Ezio
Greggio, Massimo Ghini, Alessandro Siani, Raoul Bova) centred on the
figure of the Latin Lover and on the negotiation of the industrial
dynamics of cinematic, television and media production.
- Intermedial dimensions of the actor. The historical overlap through
different media forms of acting styles associated with the Latin Lover
character, with specific focus on the connections between cinema,
television and variety shows. //
- Social, political and class dimensions. The possibile relationship
between the figure of the Latin Lover as constructed by cinema, and
political, social and class-based discourses – see, for example,
Renato Vallanzasca/Kim Rossi Stuart in “Vallanzasca: Angels of Evil”
(2010) by Michele Placido.
- Gossip, magazines, paratexts//as venues for the articulation of
socio-cultural discourses around the Latin Lover, focused on the
permeability between private and public, and fuelled by digital gossip
sites and tabloid journalism (“Chi”, “Gente», “Novella 2000”, “Eva
3000”, “Grand Hotel”, “Vip”, “DiTutto”).
- Fans, memorabilia, collecting. Items and products (such as diaries
or informal writing, tertiary texts, fan scrapbooks, digital
remediations etc.) that testify to spectators’ authentic engagement
with the figure of the Latin Lover and his media representation.
David D. Gilmore, Anthropology of the Mediterranean Area, “Annual
Review of Anthropology”, vol. 11, n. 11, 1982, pp. 175-205.
Paul Ginsborg, Enrica Asquer (eds.), Berlusconismo. Analisi di un
sistema di potere, Laterza, Rome-Bari 2011.
Giannino Malossi (ed.), Latin Lover. A sud della passione, Charta,
George L. Mosse, The Image of Man: The Creation of Modern Masculinity,
Oxford University Press, New York 1998.
George L. Mosse, Nationalism and Sexuality: Respectability and
Abnormal Sexuality in Modern Europe, Howard Fertig, New York 1985.
Alan O’Leary, Fenomenologia del cinepanettone, Rubettino, Soveria
Catherine O’Rawe, Stars and Masculinities in Contemporary Italian
Cinema, Palgrave MacMillan, London 2014.
Jacqueline Reich, Undressing the Latin Lover: Marcello Mastroianni,
Fashion, and La dolce vita, in Stella Bruzzi, Pamela Church Gibson
(eds.), Fashion Culture, Routledge, London 2000, pp. 209-220.
Jacqueline Reich, Beyond the Latin Lover: Marcello Mastroianni,
Masculinity, and Italian Cinema, Indiana University Press,
Jacqueline Reich, Catherine O’Rawe, Divi. La mascolinità nel cinema
italiano, Donzelli/Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia – Cineteca
Nazionale, Rome 2015.
Joan Riviere, Womanliness as a Masquerade, in Victor Burgin, James
Donald, Cora Kaplan (eds.), Formations of Fantasy, Methuen, London
1986, pp. 35-44.
Maria Laura Rodotà, La finnica e l’ultimo latin lover, “Corriere della
Sera”, 23 giugno 2005,
Marco Travaglio, Peter Gomez, Marco Lillo, Papi. Uno scandalo
politico, Chiarelettere, Milan 2009.
Vito Zagarrio (ed.), Il cinema della transizione. Scenari italiani
degli anni Novanta, Marsilio, Venice 2000.
Vito Zagarrio (ed.), La meglio gioventù. Nuovo cinema italiano
2000-2006, Marsilio, Venice 2006.
Proposals – consisting of a brief abstract (no more than 200 words),
five keywords and a concise author biography – should be sent by 28
February 2017 to the following email addresses:
<(biancoenero /at/ fondazionecsc.it) <mailto:(biancoenero /at/ fondazionecsc.it)>>;
<(e.biasin /at/ libero.it) <mailto:(e.biasin /at/ libero.it)>>;
<(c.g.orawe /at/ bristol.ac.uk) <mailto:(c.g.orawe /at/ bristol.ac.uk)>>. Once the
proposal has been approved, the deadline for the complete essay will
be 31 May 2017. The issue will be published on December 2017. Articles
should be between 20,000 and 25,000 characters, and they will undergo
a double blind peer review.