A Cinema of Poetry
Aesthetics of the Italian Art Film
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quote
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This book follows a generally chronological structure. The two chapters in part 1, “Neorealist Rhetoric and National Identity,” show how certain films grouped under the term neorealism established cinematic discourses that illuminate our understanding of concerns in the history of art while reflecting...
Introduction: Toward a Poetics of the Italian Art Film
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On 19 August 1916 Giovanni Verga wrote to his screenwriter that he was taking matters into his own hands: “Ho creduto meglio di stendere io stesso la trama delle scene . . . onde evitare uno dei soliti pasticci chilometrici che fanno assomigliare la cinematografia al romanzo di appendici per analfabeti”...
Part One: Neorealist Rhetoric and National Identity
Chapter One. The Chorus of Neorealism
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“Non ho formule e preconcetti,” Roberto Rossellini claimed when asked to look back on his fabled postwar cinema; “ma se guardo a ritroso i miei film, indubbiamente vi riscontro degli elementi che sono in essi costanti, e che vi sono ripetuti non programmaticamente, ma, ripeto, naturalmente. Anzitutto...
Chapter Two. Beyond Beauty: Cinematic Allegory and the Question of Italy
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That cinema appeared so much later than its sister arts had, as one might expect, both advantages and disadvantages. Because film lacked the authority of poetry, painting, and music, it faced the ongoing challenge of establishing its aesthetic value to its predecessors. The challenge was intensified by the widespread prejudice that cinema, the offspring of technology and capitalism...
Part Two: Cinemas of Poerty
Chapter Three. Rossellini’s Cinema of Poetry: Voyage to Italy
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Though the vast bibliography on Roberto Rossellini contains relatively few items that address the issue of adaptation, his work during the so-called Ingrid Bergman years (1949–55) anticipates and synthesizes many of the era’s concerns about film’s interrelations with literature. The critical lacuna is not...
Chapter Four. Poesis in Pasolini: Theory and Practice
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Not surprisingly, the early reception of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s notions on the cinema di poesia (cinema of poetry), first elaborated in a paper at the Pesaro Film Festival in 1965, was divided to the extreme.1 The most common resistance regarded Pasolini’s positing of an identity between the language of...
Part Three: Aesthetic Corsi and Ricorsi
Chapter Five Threat of the Real: Fact and Image in Antonioni
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The career of Michelangelo Antonioni provides a Janus-faced perspective on the history of Italian film. As the innovative auteur whose work in the 1950s and 1960s cleared new pathways for filmmakers overwhelmed by a neorealist heritage, his films reassert the value of experimental approaches reminiscent...
Chapter Six. Chiasmus, Italian Style: Rhetoric and Ideology in The Leopard and The Conformist
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In her study of Italian identity after political unification in 1861, Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg explores the traits that impeded the formation of a national self, including the Italians’ supposed lack of interiority, their scioltezza or elasticity in acting and thinking, and their love of rhetoric (1–19). The...
Chapter Seven.Verbal Montage and Visual Apostrophe: Zanzotto’s “Filò” and Fellini’s Voice of the Moon
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It has become a commonplace to follow Federico Fellini’s own words on the question of film’s relationship to the sister arts and view him—like the man he called his cinematic father, Roberto Rossellini—as an antiliterary director. After all, Fellini insisted that any attempt to link literature and film represented...
Epilogue: Art Film Redux: Cinepoetics in the New Millennium
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By the turn of the millennium, a once-mighty Italian film industry had long been mired in crisis. In 2001 box-office numbers dropped by fifty percent from the previous year, and in 2005 the Berlusconi government slashed funding of the nation’s principal arts program by forty percent.1 The fate of...
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Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 34 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2014