Contemporary Italian Filmmaking: Strategies of Subversion: Pirandello, Fellini, Scola, and the Directors of the New Generation
Published: January 1995© 1995
302 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 1.00 in
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Contemporary Italian Filmmaking is an innovative critique of Italian filmmaking in the aftermath of World War II - as it moves beyond traditional categories such as genre film and auteur cinema. Manuela Gieri demonstrates that Luigi Pirandello's revolutionary concept of humour was integral to the development of a counter-tradition in Italian filmmaking that she defines `humoristic'. She delineates a `Pirandellian genealogy' in Italian cinema, literature, and culture through her examination of the works of Federico Fellini, Ettore Scola, and many directors of the `new generation,' such as Nanni Moretti, Gabriele Salvatores, Maurizio Nichetti, and Giuseppe Tornatore.
A celebrated figure of the theatrical world, Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936) is little known beyond Italy for his critical and theoretical writings on cinema and for his screenplays. Gieri brings to her reading of Pirandello's work the critical parameters offered by psychoanalysis, poststructuralism, and postmodernism to develop a syncretic and transcultural vision of the history of Italian cinema. She identifies two fundamental trends of development in this tradition: the `melodramatic imagination' and the `humoristic,' or comic, imagination. With her focus on the humoristic imagination, Gieri describes a `Pirandellian mode' derived from his revolutionary utterances on the cinema and narrative, and specifically, from his essay on humour, L'umorismo (On Humour, 1908). She traces a history of the Pirandellian mode in cinema and investigates its characteristics, demonstrating the original nature of Italian filmmaking that is particularly indebted to Pirandello's interpretation of humour.
'The overall organization of Gieri's book is clear and conveys a persuasive demonstration of the impact of Pirandello's works and theoretical ideas on Italian cinema. It goes a long way towards the integration of Italian film studies and Italian cultural studies that has long been the goal of every scholar of Italian cinema, both in Italy and abroad. It constitutes an incentive for new studies and interpretations of Italian cinema, and should have a lasting effect on the reconsideration of Italian cinema and its place in the larger frame of moving images.'Cristina Degli-Esposti, Screen
'Contemporary Italian Filmmaking is a valid contribution to Italian film studies. Gieri manages to stick to her major theses without unnecessary theoretical convolutions or tangents. She presents her arguements clearly with a precise language that makes this book a pleasure to read.'Antonio Scuderi, Italica
'Overall, Contemporary Italian Filmaking marshals arguments that are solid and convincing. Gieri's argumentation strategies, combining poststructuralism, postmodernism, and psychoanalysis, are thorough and methodical. Readers are provided with a wealth of background information and criticism that gives the chapters continuity and provides insight into the larger context of the history of Italian cinema. The work is enriched by an extensive bibliography. Gieri has also included an impressive array of photographic stills to complement her work...All of these elements combine to make Contemporary Italian Filmaking an eminently useful and enjoyable book.'Lucy Di Rosa, Rivista Di Studi Italiani