Archive for 2018

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[ecrea] Journal of Italian Cinema & Media Studies 6.3 published

Tue Sep 18 13:51:03 GMT 2018

Intellect is happy to announce that the Journal of Italian Cinema & Media Studies 6.3 is now available! To find out more about the issue, click here >>

Special Issue: Rome, Open City


Rome, Open City: Before and after Neorealism

Authors: David Forgacs
Page Start: 301

The article reconstructs how Roberto Rossellini’s Roma città aperta (Rome, Open City) (1945) film looked to its earliest reviewers and critics in 1945–47, before it became identified as the founding film of Neorealism, and how it has come to look since the 1970s, since the critical paradigm centred on the concept of Neorealism started to come apart. By focusing attention on how the film was received before the rise and after the fall of that paradigm, we can see how the category of Neorealism served to isolate and privilege one particular set of aesthetic properties and interpretive-evaluative categories (raw, authentic, quasi-documentary) while deflecting attention from others (melodrama, spectacle of violence). It also directed attention away from the film’s political functions, notably that of rehabilitating Italy and Italians after two decades of fascism. These functions were perceived in some (not all) of the early reviews, both American and Italian, but they have become more visible to recent viewers and critics.

The reception of Rome, Open City in France (1946–68): Realism for the elites, revolution for the people

Authors: Valerio Coladonato
Page Start: 315

In the years between the end of the Second World War and 1968, Roma città aperta (Rome, Open City) (Rossellini, 1945) became a key point of reference in a number of French cultural, aesthetic and political debates. This article analyses the film’s reception across popular audiences and cultured elites, making use of historical sources beyond specialist film journals (such as articles from the generalist press, promotional booklets, educational sheets, box office records) that help to contextualize the film’s shifting cultural significance. Three moments in particular are taken into account: Rome, Open City’s presentation at the Cannes Film Festival and its theatrical release (1946–47), during which its perceived ‘truth’ was indicated as its foremost quality; the diminished visibility of the film in the 1950s within the framework of the institutionalization of the politique des auteurs; and the reactivation of the memory of the Resistance in the period leading up to the events of May 1968.

Death and the gaze in Rome, Open City

Authors: Stefania Parigi
Page Start: 331

The article aims to confront the representation of death in Roma città aperta (Rome, Open City) (Rossellini, 1945). Leaving aside the relationship between real death and fictional death, by which is meant the direct link between the film and historical events (already widely analysed by scholars), the essay employs the epic and heroic dimensions in relation to the narration of death; analyses the representation of the foreigner as a bearer of death; focuses, therefore, on the gaze with which Roberto Rossellini observes death, on the spaces and times of the killings; highlights the symbolic and mythological dimension of the film; and, finally, confronts the figure of the scapegoat and the processes of elaboration of memory and mourning.

Re-reading Marina: Sexuality, materialism and the construction of Italy

Authors: Dom Holdaway And Dalila Missero
Page Start: 343

In this article, we propose a reading of the historical relevance of Roberto Rossellini’s Roma città aperta (Rome, Open City) (Rossellini, 1945) in relation to one of the lesser-studied characters: Marina Mari (played by Maria Michi). The character of Marina has been subjected to critical negative responses centred on her narrative function, the betrayal of the Resistance movement or the ‘corrupt’ persona of the actress. We argue that Marina, in fact, embodies the convergence of a series of gender, genre, social and historic dynamics that have exceptional symbolic relevance for Italian cinematic and social history. We begin with an overview of the connection between Rome, Open City and the antifascist, re-foundational rhetoric that emerged after the Second World War, which ‘preserved’ Italian national identity by assigning culpability to the Germans alone. Following this, through a careful re-reading of her narrative function and visual representation, we demonstrate the radicalness of Marina’s sexual and social identity.

Notes on the end of Rome, Open City

Authors: Charles L. Leavitt IV
Page Start: 359

Among the most iconic images in world cinema, the final shot of Roberto Rossellini’s Roma città aperta (Rome, Open City) (1945) has inspired an effusion of critical commentary but little critical consensus, instead giving rise to opposing interpretations. I argue that the shot, in which the camera pans to follow a band of children as they march on a hillside overlooking the city of Rome, was shaped by a post-war dispute over the fate of Italian children after Fascism. Re-educating and re-claiming these children was felt to be one of the most pressing tasks facing Italy after the war, and I argue that it was this task that Rossellini and his collaborators sought to represent and even to undertake in their film. Thanks to their efforts, the final shot of Rome, Open City facilitated both a compelling confrontation with Italy’s Fascist past and a convincing – if far from straightforward – vision of its post-war future.

Popular culture, performance, persona: Anna Magnani between Rome, Open City and The Rose Tattoo

Authors: Francesco Pitassio
Page Start: 373

The article explores the work of Anna Magnani in her most productive period, between Roma città aperta (Rome, Open City) (Rossellini, 1945) and The Rose Tattoo (Mann, 1955). The article tackles Magnani’s work from three perspectives: in terms of performance, that is, her acting style; in terms of representation, that is, the relationship between a spatial setting and a pattern organizing both narrative and performative components; and in terms of star persona, the way in which media discourse conveyed and construed her personality as both an authentic artist and as an individual. The article posits that Rome, Open City was a turning point in Magnani’s career, and encompassed all the features that marked her following work. By closely reading her films and scrutinizing the media discourse about the actress, as expressed in neglected sources such as newsreels and popular press, the article attempts to shed light on the way in which Magnani’s alleged authenticity was designed.

(Un)dressing authenticity: Neorealist stardom and Anna Magnani in the postwar era (1945–48)

Authors: Sergio Rigoletto
Page Start: 389

This article focusses on the making of Magnani’s star image during the immediate postwar years (1945–1948). It appraises Magnani’s place within the institutional discourse of Neorealism and unpacks some of the meanings behind a notion that has been frequently associated with Magnani: authenticity. By examining Magnani’s costumes in Roma città aperta (Rome, Open City) (Rossellini, 1945) and in a number of popular comedies of the immediate postwar period alongside some of the clothes worn by the actress in her off-screen appearances, the article traces the distinctive unfolding of a ‘star narrative’ that seems especially concerned with points of origins and essences. The article demonstrates that this unfolding manifests itself through the opening of a space of absence in which, counter-intuitively, the ‘inauthentic’ appears repeatedly confronted.

Film Reviews

Authors: Maria Bonaria Urban And Ellen Nerenberg
Page Start: 405

Libere, Rossella Schillaci (2017), National Film Archive of the Resistance, with the support of Compagnia di San Paolo; City of Turin; and Piemonte Doc Film Fund in association with Azulfilm
Student films from the Centro Sperimentale di Cinema, class of 2017

Book Reviews

Authors: Millicent Marcus And Sole Anatrone And Robert A.Rushing And Danielle Hipkins And Giacomo Ravesi And Filippo Trentin And Emilio Audissino And Simona Bondavalli
Page Start: 413

A History of Italian Cinema, 2nd ed., Peter Bondanella and Federico Pacchioni (2017)
Marvelous Bodies: Italy’s New Migrant Cinema, Vetri Nathan (2017)
Muscoli e frac: Il divismo maschile nel cinema muto italiano, 1910–1929, Denis Lotti (2016) Peplum: Il cinema italiano alle prese col mondo antico, Francesco Di Chiara (2016) Italian Style: Fashion and Film from Early Cinema to the Digital Age, Eugenia Paulicelli (2016) Imagining: Serialità, narrazioni cinematografiche e fotografia nella pubblicità contemporanea, Stefania Antonioni (2016)
Pasolini Requiem, 2nd ed., Barth David Schwartz (2016)
La musica alla radio 1924–1954: Storia, effetti, contesti in prospettiva europea, Angela Ida De Benedictis and Franco Monteleone (eds) (2015)
Pasolini: Cinema e antropologia, Donatella Maraschin (2014)
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