Category Archives: Film Theatre and Media

Ermanno Olmi (1931 – 2018)

Gino Moliterno   ANU

Less than three weeks after the death of Vittorio Taviani the Italian cinema has lost another of its great veteran filmmakers – Ermanno Olmi who died on May 7. With a strong attachment to his peasant origins and his rural Catholic background, both of which were amply reflected in his major works, for the last 60 years Olmi had come to occupy a unique position within mainstream Italian cinema through a series of films that were remarkable for their honesty and authenticity and for their profound commitment to validating the ordinary lives and daily experiences of common people.  Continue reading

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Vale Vittorio Taviani (1929-2018)

Gino Moliterno   ANU

Sadly, the front ranks of the veteran Italian film directors continue to diminish. Only two years after the disappearance of Ettore Scola, 88 year-old Vittorio Taviani has also folded up his director’s chair and passed on. For six decades, always and indissolubly joined at the artistic hip with his slightly younger brother, Paolo, Vittorio had formed the vital half of a prolific filmmaking duo who produced some of the most memorable films of the Italian postwar cinema.  By their own account – and they have always spoken with a single voice – the Taviani brothers first discovered their passion for filmmaking as teenagers, skipping school one day and chancing to catch a screening of Roberto Rossellini’s Paisà. Sons of a vehemently anti-fascist lawyer who had also taken up arms as a partisan, the boys had had direct experience of the recent war and now were struck by the power of film to represent reality. As they left the cinema they resolved that they would be filmmakers.     Continue reading

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Call for entries: Jo-Anne Duggan Prize 2019

We are now calling for entries for the Jo-Anne Duggan Prize 2019 which honours Jo-Anne’s memory and work. She left one of the richest and most compelling collections of photographs by any Australian artist to engage with Italian culture, history and art. Her work, exemplifying what she called her ‘postcolonial eye’, demonstrates remarkable breadth, covering public spaces/places of Italian diaspora in Australia, enquiries into the re-contextualisation and museification of Renaissance art, Australian archives of Italian migration, and complex case studies on the legacy of the Gonzagas. The guidelines for entries for the 2019 Prize can be found here, accompanied by guidelines for the exegesis for creative works, a list of links to Jo-Anne’s writings, and her CV which includes a list of her exhibitions. The deadline for entries for the Prize is 29 October 2018. All enquiries should be directed to Catherine Dewhirst (USQ).

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Terra matta returns to Australia

The autobiography of Vincenzo Rabito (1899-1981), 1027 closely-packed pages of vivid description in a mix of Italian, Sicilian dialect and rabitese, has appeared in versions for the page (Terra matta, Einaudi 2007), stage (directed and performed by Vincenzo Pirrotta) and screen (terramatta;, directed by Costanza Quatriglio with a script by her and Chiara Ottaviano), presented in Australia in 2013 and 2015. A second, very different, version for the stage, by the actor-director Stefano Panzeri, will be performed in Melbourne on Tuesday  13 March  2018  at 6:30pm at the Museo Italiano in Carlton (free entry; RSVP essential). It will also be presented, under the title Oltreoceano, in Sydney on Friday 16 March at 6.30pm at the Canada Bay Club, incorporating not only extracts from Rabito’s text but also the stories of emigration offered by Italian members of the audiences at Panzeri’s performances in Europe and Latin America.

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Lectureship in Italian Studies at ANU

The Australian National University will appoint a Lecturer in Italian Studies (Level B, fixed term 3 years) who has an active research agenda in one or more of the following areas: translation studies; film and media studies, Italian literature, theatre and/or cultural studies, or cross-cultural communication. The position is located in the School of  Literature, Languages and Linguistics; the capacity to teach into the School’s other Modern European Language programs may be an advantage. The appointee will be expected to take on the role of Convenor of Italian Studies and contribute to the School’s teaching programs in Italian Studies and in his or her area of specialisation at all levels (undergraduate, Honours, MA and PhD).  The closing date for applications, submitted online here,  is 18 March 2018.   Continue reading

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ACIS – Save Venice Fellowships for 2018

Further information on the Fellowships and how to apply for them can be found here.

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Blade Runner 2049 meets Il Cortegiano

The improbable encounter between Blade Runner 2049 and Baldassarre Castiglione’s Il Cortegiano (Book 3) is the topic of Jill Burke’s latest entry in her blog. It’s Joi, the holographic super-girl who Agent K keeps in a device in his pocket, not K or any of the replicants in BR 2049, who is the focus – she can be compared to the perfect court lady imagined in the discussions among Castiglione’s courtiers. Burke connects their creation of an imaginary ideal woman with developments in the Renaissance painting of female nudes, setting real-life faces on classically beautiful bodies.

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Senses of Italy: Melbourne Masterclass

Scent, sight, sound, taste, touch: all Italian-style. They are covered in a programme of Thursday evening lectures, Melbourne Masterclass : Senses of Italy, at the University of Melbourne, 6.15 – 8.15pm, 5 October – 2 November 2017. The series starts with Catherine Kovesi on Renaissance perfumes (Venice as olfactory heaven) and Antonio Artese on scent and Aquaflor (5 Oct). Then Christopher Marshall looks at Artemisia Gentileschi’s correspondence (‘it’s all about the money’) and Mark Nicholls at Rossellini’s Voyage to Italy (12 Oct). John Weretka uses paintings and poetry to examine the instruments, repertoires and status of Renaissance musicians (upwardly mobile), followed by Malcolm Angelucci on poetics, music and madness in Italy before 1914 (19 Oct). John Hajek and Anthony White consider Futurism and food, the art and appetites of the antigrazioso (26 Oct). Finally Andrea Rizzi explores the ideas and images of Renaissance texts (‘tactile values’), and Carl Villis reveals some attributions and reattributions of Italian Renaissance art in the National Gallery of Victoria (2 Nov). Further details on the contributions, authors, venue and registration can be found here.

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Italian Screen Studies in 2017

The most recent issue of The Italianist (2017, 37, 2), edited by Charles Leavitt, Catherine ORawe and Dana Renga), is devoted to screen studies. The section on acting and performance has essays by Lisa Sarti on early Italian cinema journals and their reflections on acting for film and stage, Sarah Culhane on Anna Magnani and Sophia Loren performing the popolana, Alison Cooper on Rome as a key locus for reflecting on the relationship between performance and place, and Danielle Hipkins on the performance of girlhood in Gabrielle Mainettis Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot. All four essays underline the importance of theatricality for an understanding of Italian film theory and practice. In addition two pieces focus on Carl Koch’s film of Tosca (1941): Berhard Kuhn uses it to examine the relation between film melodrama and opera and Ivo Blom analyses the making of the film and the contributions of Jean Renoir and Luigi Visconti.

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Addio a Peter Bondanella (1943-2017)

Gino Moliterno    ANU

Peter Bondanella, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, Film Studies and Italian at Indiana University, died on 28 May. In an academic career spanning more than four decades Bondanella’s contribution to Italian Studies was extraordinary; the falling silent of his voice will be very sad news for all Italianists in the English-speaking world, especially those interested in cinema. His generosity of spirit, the depth and breadth of scholarship, love of Italian cinema, sardonic sense of humour, and determination always to contribute to the valorisation of Italian culture will be greatly missed. Federico Fellini perhaps summed up Peter’s style best when, in the foreword he contributed to The Cinema of Federico Fellini (1992), he wrote: ‘The most exciting aspect of Bondanella’s work is, in fact, his inextinguishable faith in the power of reason and systematization which reminds us in a nostalgic way of methods and choices inspired by respect and harmony’.   Continue reading

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