Schooling in Modernity: The Politics of Sponsored Films in Postwar Italy

By Paola Bonifazio

© 2014

Between 1948 and the end of the 1950s, Italian and American government agencies and corporations commissioned hundreds of short films for domestic and foreign consumption on topics such as the fight against unemployment, the transformation of rural and urban spaces, and the re-establishment of democratic regimes in Italy and throughout Europe. In Schooling in Modernity, Paola Bonifazio investigates the ways in which these sponsored films promoted a particular vision of modernization and industry and functioned as tools to govern the Italian people.

The author uses extensive archival research and various theoretical approaches to examine the politics of sponsored filmmaking in postwar Italy. Among the many topics explored are target audiences and audience response, sources of funding, censorship, debates on cinematic realism, and the connections and differences between American and Italian strategies and styles of documentary filmmaking. Insightful and richly detailed, Schooling in Modernity shows the importance of these under-appreciated films in the postwar modernization process, the transition from Fascism to democracy, and Italy’s involvement in the Cold War.

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Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Illustrations: 23
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 0.8in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

Paola Bonifazio investigates the ways in which films sponsored by Italian and American government agencies promoted a particular vision of modernization and industry and functioned as tools to govern the Italian people.

Schooling in Modernity: The Politics of Sponsored Films in Postwar Italy

By Paola Bonifazio

© 2014

Between 1948 and the end of the 1950s, Italian and American government agencies and corporations commissioned hundreds of short films for domestic and foreign consumption on topics such as the fight against unemployment, the transformation of rural and urban spaces, and the re-establishment of democratic regimes in Italy and throughout Europe. In Schooling in Modernity, Paola Bonifazio investigates the ways in which these sponsored films promoted a particular vision of modernization and industry and functioned as tools to govern the Italian people.

The author uses extensive archival research and various theoretical approaches to examine the politics of sponsored filmmaking in postwar Italy. Among the many topics explored are target audiences and audience response, sources of funding, censorship, debates on cinematic realism, and the connections and differences between American and Italian strategies and styles of documentary filmmaking. Insightful and richly detailed, Schooling in Modernity shows the importance of these under-appreciated films in the postwar modernization process, the transition from Fascism to democracy, and Italy’s involvement in the Cold War.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Illustrations: 23
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 0.8in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    ‘This important empirically rich and theoretically nuanced book is certainly of great interest to researchers in modern Italian history as well as to scholars studying propaganda.’


    Gianluca Fantoni
    H-Italy October 2016

    Schooling in Modernity is a fascinating account of short films sponsored by Italian and American governments… It makes a convincing argument about the significance of sponsored cinema in negotiating the transition between Fascism and post-war democracy.’


    Norma Bouchard
    Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies – vol 5:1:2017

    Schooling in Modernity is an interesting and sophisticated work that makes use of a hitherto little known body of material: the hundreds of short films that were made by Italian and American state and non-state sponsors from the late 1940s to the late 1950s. Thorough and analytically rich, this book is a valuable contribution to the history of Italian cinema.”
    Christopher Duggan, Director, Centre for Modern Italian History, University of Reading

    “This is a wonderful book that will have a long-lasting impact on Italian cinema as it moves towards the study of cinematic cultures. Based on rare and difficult-to-access materials from minor and previously inaccessible archives, Schooling in Modernity is the first book to address this important body of films.”
    Luca Caminati, Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Concordia University
  • Author Information

    Paola Bonifazio is an assistant professor in the Department of French and Italian at the University of Texas at Austin.
  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgments

    Introduction
    Chapter 1: Work, Welfare, Neorealism
    Chapter 2: Sneaky Sponsors
    Chapter 3: Filming the Housing Revolution
    Chapter 4: South Like North
    Chapter 5: United Europe Starts in School
    Chapter 6: Histories Through Tabloids

    Filmography
    Bibliography

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