Cinema and Fascism: Italian Film and Society, 1922-1943 by Stephen Ricci

By Stephen Ricci

This examine considers Italian filmmaking throughout the Fascist period and gives an unique and revealing method of the interwar years. Steven Ricci without delay confronts a long-standing issue confronted by way of cultural historians: whereas made in the course of a interval of totalitarian executive, those movies are neither propagandistic nor brazenly "Fascist." as a substitute, the Italian Fascist regime tried to construct ideological consensus via erasing markers of sophistication and local distinction and via circulating phrases for an imaginary nationwide id. Cinema and Fascism investigates the advanced courting among the totalitarian regime and Italian cinema. It appears to be like on the motion pictures themselves, the undefined, and the function of cinema in way of life, and provides new insights into this significant yet missed interval in cinema history.

“Illuminating. . . . Ricci’s ebook bargains an important contribution to a extra nuanced and traditionally particular view of cinema less than fascism.”
(Film feedback 2010-07-13)

"Italian Fascism used to be filled with paradoxes, one in every of which involved the cinema. Why did this self-styled totalitarian regime undertake such an it sounds as if laissez-faire perspective in the direction of this significant artwork shape and medium of leisure? And if Italian cinema within the Fascist interval was once infrequently propagandistic, was once it however permeated by way of Fascist values in alternative ways? Steven Ricci methods those and comparable questions either knowledgeably and with a refreshingly open brain, eschewing the entire traditional cliche and arising with extraordinary and interesting answers."—Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, editor of The Oxford heritage of worldwide Cinema

"Steven Ricci sheds new gentle at the ventennio nero, the 'twenty black years' of Fascism in Italy, offering a wealth of ancient examine on movie within the context of society, nationwide id, industrialization and political financial system. In his persuasive argument that propaganda and escapism weren't the one forces at paintings within the media, Ricci bargains us a compelling view of this seminal old interval. As he redefines nationwide cinema, Ricci reshapes the nationwide physique, vividly reviving for us the cult of the physique in activities and relaxation, and the fascination for the male physique in movie. Mass tourism and technique of transportation, particularly the educate, are understood as autos for cultural move and socio-sexual move. whereas transiting from the neighborhood to the worldwide, this provocative examine of Fascism seems at Italy when it comes to Hollywood and the US, accounting for mediatic trap and media control-issues of either nice historic value and relevance for our times."—Giuliana Bruno, Professor of visible and Environmental reports, Harvard University

"I was once lucky to have this undertaking from its beginning. From the very starting, I well-known the tenacity of an extended distance runner. I liked the rigor of Steven Ricci's documentation, the intelligence of his skill for interpretation and his thorough wisdom not just of the filmic texts but additionally of cinema historiography and the varied stages of study and interpretation of fascism, in Italy and across the world, during the last thirty years. Ricci investigates this subject in all of its complexity; as an interplay among tradition, aesthetics, politics and propaganda. He offers a resounding account of the cinema's privileged function as chorister of Italy's transition from an agricultural and rural economic system to its business fact and of its function as unarmed ambassador for Italian tradition among the 2 international wars. in the wealthy number of American examine on Italian cinema in the course of the Fascist interval, this paintings is surely the main mature, most sensible documented and original."—Gian Piero Brunetta, writer of Storia del cinema Italiano

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Extra resources for Cinema and Fascism: Italian Film and Society, 1922-1943

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Of the four largest production companies in 1908, only Ambrosio seems to have been left unmodified. In 1908 Luca Comerio lost control of the company he had founded, Comerio-SAFFI. By September of 1909 it had been renamed Milano Films and was headed by Count Pier Gaetano Venino, Baron Paolo Airoldi di Robbiate, and Giuseppe di 32 / AMNESIA AND HISTORICAL MEMORY Liguoro. , founded by Carlo Rossi in 1907, was restructured into Itala fi lms in May of 1908. Itala’s new leaders came primarily from the banking world and also included Giovanni Pastrone, who would go on to produce and direct the groundbreaking Cabiria in 1914.

In 1911, Baron Alberto Fassini became its director and chief administrator. Throughout this period, similar shifts in company leadership effected the reorganization of both Comerio-SAFFI and Rossi-Itala. Of the four largest production companies in 1908, only Ambrosio seems to have been left unmodified. In 1908 Luca Comerio lost control of the company he had founded, Comerio-SAFFI. By September of 1909 it had been renamed Milano Films and was headed by Count Pier Gaetano Venino, Baron Paolo Airoldi di Robbiate, and Giuseppe di 32 / AMNESIA AND HISTORICAL MEMORY Liguoro.

Although each film requires further detailed analysis, the key historiographic issue at hand is that they had both been severely criticized in the postwar period precisely because of their putative support of fascist ideology. Simply put, both films had once been attacked as being “fascist” and are now rescued by shifting attention to the artistic merit of their directors. Rather than investigate how such films might be both “fascist” and “successful,” this kind of study simply looks for craft, stylistic merit, and thematic consistency.

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