Screening Religions in Italy: Contemporary Italian Cinema and Television in the Post-Secular Public Sphere
Published: November 2019© 2019
192 Pages, 6.50 x 9.25 x 0.60 in
Religion has had been foundational in shaping Italy. Home to the Vatican State, the Italian peninsula is the religious centre for one billion Catholics globally. It is also increasingly home to those of other faiths, especially Islam. Italy’s development as a contemporary post-secular and multi-religious society is fraught and fascinating.
The recent resurgence of religious discourse is a sign of what German philosopher, Jürgen Habermas, has defined as the post-secular condition. Habermas and others have questioned what most people in the West had, up to a few years ago, taken for granted: the unstoppable forward march of secularization and the subsequent marginalization of religion. Instead, one of the greatest global fault-lines in the contemporary world – the divide between absolutist, extremist Islamic faith and liberal, but Christian-inflected, secular values – has religious identity at its core. The first book-length study to examine religion in contemporary Italian cinema and television, Screening Religions in Italy spans genres such as horror, comedy, hagiopics, and TV fiction, and explores both commercial and art-house filmmaking. In a discussion of films and television series that range from Moretti’s Habemus Papam to Sorrentino’s The Young Pope, the author identifies two key issues: how Italian filmmaking constructs the continuing position of religion in the public sphere and why religion persists on Italian screens.
Introduction: Italy, Secularization, and the Post-Secular
1. The Space for Religious Filmmaking: Policy and Infrastructures
2. The Persistence of Religion Onscreen: Icons, Rituals, and the Arts
3. Countercultural Catholic Values in the Public Sphere
4. Protest in the Public Sphere: The Shifting Line between Religious and Secular Space
5. Voicing the Religious Other: Assimilation, Horror, Resolution
Conclusion: Seeing is Believing: Italian Filmmaking Looks Post-Secularism in the Eye
"In a very readable, long overdue, and engrossing study, Clodagh J. Brook sets herself a bold and arduous task, involving a massive and intellectual confrontation with ‘Italy’s religion in the new millennium,’ not as the final word on Roman Catholicism, but as a symptomatic flashpoint to explore the ‘vast spectacle and power of the international Catholic faith’ tied to uncertain questions of national identity and belief."Marcia Landy, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of French and Italian, University of Pittsburgh
"Elegantly written, Screening Religions in Italy not only explores Catholicism in cinema as a force of contestation, it also proposes new and original perspectives concerning local filmmaking, minority religions' new productions, new ways to access funding, and the filmmaking industry overall." Nicoletta Marino-Maio, Associate Professor of Italian and Film Studies, Italian Department Chair, Dickinson College