Category Archives: Film Theatre and Media

Addio Bernardo Bertolucci (1941-2018)

Gino Moliterno   ANU

Now, with the ranks of veteran Italian film directors already depleted to single figures, Bernardo Bertolucci, in the words of Roberto Benigni “il più grande di tutti, l’ultimo imperatore del cinema italiano”, has also left us. Undoubtedly a giant not only of Italian but of world cinema, Bertolucci succeeded, in a career that spanned six decades and produced close to 20 major films, to achieve the almost impossible feat of moving with ease between an auteurist arthouse, at times even jarringly experimental, cinema and commercially successful big-budget Hollywood-financed mass entertainment. And perhaps what especially endeared him to Italians was that he managed to achieve full citizenship of the international community of world cinema without renouncing his social and cultural roots in provincial Italy. Continue reading

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Melbourne ACIS Postdoctoral Fellowship 2019-2020

ACIS and the University of Melbourne have established a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship in Italian Studies, located in the School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Melbourne, with a starting date of 1 February 2019. The Fellow will have the opportunity to build a research profile through the development of an original research project in any area of Italian Studies broadly defined, including, but not limited to, literature, linguistics, history, political studies, anthropology, and art history.  The Fellow is also expected to have a teaching workload of up to 25% in Italian Studies, European Studies or Italian language and culture at an undergraduate and/or Honours level.

To apply, candidates must have been awarded a PhD from an Australian or New Zealand university after 1 January 2012 in any area of Italian Studies and be either citizens or permanent residents of Australia or New Zealand. Graduates who satisfy the PhD requirements and currently live in Australia under the Temporary Graduate Visa (485) expiring after the end of 2020 will also be considered. Full details of the position and the application process can be found here.

The closing date for applications is 28 November 2018.

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Fellowship to honour Katthy Cavaliere

Cavaliere, nest, 2010

The estate of the artist Katthy Cavaliere (1972-2012) has announced that it will join the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Sydney’s Carriageworks, and the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) to establish a fellowship, Suspended Moment: The Katthy Cavaliere Fellowship, in support of women artists. Next year three $100,000 grants will be awarded to female-identifying Australian artists working in performance and installation; together they will realize a project to be exhibited at the three institutions in 2020. Cavaliere was born in Sarteano, Italy, in 1972, moving to Australia with her family in 1976. She attended the University NSW School of Art and Design in Sydney and studied under Marina Abramović at the Accademia di Belle Arti at Brera in Milan. She was best known for creating art informed by her migrant experience and sense of displacement as a child, as well as by her grief for her mother who died of ovarian cancer in 2008. One such work, nest, 2010, shows Cavaliere sitting on top of a pile of her mother’s clothes at Clovelly Beach in Sydney, gazing out at the horizon. Katthy Cavaliere herself died of ovarian cancer in 2012.

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Mona Lisa Covergirl

Emma Barron’s just-published Popular High Culture in Italian Media, 1950-1970 (Palgrave, 2018) is an essential and engaging contribution to the study of Italian mass culture. The book’s subtitle, ‘Mona Lisa Covergirl’, points to the originality of its theme: how Italian high culture was deployed to create a distinctive form of mass culture in the post-1945 expansion of television and popular magazines. Pasolini and Quasimodo providing advice to readers of Tempo (Pasolini: ‘The letters are enjoyable: some of them even give me a profound joy, even if as brief as a flash’),  Mike Bongiorno promoting knowledge of the classics through Lascia o raddoppia? (15 million viewers weekly), Il barbiere di Siviglia as the first opera to be transmitted on Italian tv (1954, conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini), Giacomo Puccini endorsing Odol mouthwash (‘Lodo l’ODOL, LO DOLce licor che LO DOLore del dente scaccia di sovente’), Shakespeare’s lines used to sell pasta (Barilla), liquor (Amaretto di Saronno) and chocolates (Baci Perugina), I promessi sposi drawing mass tv audiences (19 million) and readerships (magazines, fotoromanzi, comics) – this study of the intertwining of the classic and the contemporary provides a fresh and productive account of the development of Italian mass culture.

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The Leopard at 60

The 60th anniversary of the publication of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s The Leopard will be celebrated at the University of Melbourne on 12-14 November 2018. On 12 November the writer Simonetta Agnello-Hornby will give an open public lecture, The North and South in 20th Century Italy and the Effect of ‘The Leopard’ in Sicily and in Europe, examining the impact of di Lampedusa’s major work, in book and film (Visconti, 1963) form, in Sicily itself and on European views of Sicilians. The lecture, 5.30-6.30pm in the Forum Theatre (North Wing), Arts West Building (153), at the University of Melbourne, is the prelude to a 2-day symposium, Sicily, Italy and the Supranational Cultural Imaginary, convened by Mark Nicholls (Melbourne), Gregoria Manzin (La Trobe), Annamaria Pagliaro (Monash) and Agnese Bresin (Melbourne and La Trobe) on 13-14 November, 10.00am-5.00pm at the Interactive Cinema, Arts West 353, at the University of Melbourne. The symposium, open to all, will cover many aspects of di Lampedusa’s work, along with analyses of Visconti’s film  and a variety of Sicilian texts, art works and historical events. Registration for the lecture is here. For further information on the lecture and the symposium, contact Mark Nicholls.   Continue reading

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The book, the photo and the stork

Photos move us. They enable us to travel virtually to wherever the scene is captured. They also move us by provoking emotions unleashed by the picture. Travel photography illustrates this double power especially clearly as Giorgia Alù argues in her just-published Journeys Exposed: Women’s Writing, Photography and Mobility (Routledge, 2018). The writers and photographers analysed (Melania Mazzucco, Ornela Vorpsi, Monika Bulaj, Carla Cerati, Elena Gianini Belotti and Anna Maria Riccardi) are variously related to Italy: Italians, Italophones, migrants or expatriates to Italy, or through hyphenated adjectives of nationality, as Italian-American or Italian-Australian. The book begins with an anecdote recounted by Karen Blixen. During a stormy night a man has to go out to fix a leakage in his pond’s dam. He stumbles around, falls over, and takes wrong paths but next morning he sees that the tracks his boots have left in the mud trace the outline of a stork. The stork provides an unsuspected unity for his apparently random movements but one which only becomes visible a posteriori and from a distance. Such traces expose the form of movements, underlying or unintended, in lives, texts and photographs but, like photographs, the form requires the technical processes of exposure to be seen.

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The Italianist 2018: Italian films, Peter Bondanella, Chris Wagstaff

The latest volume of The Italianist ( 2018, vol.38, no.2) is devoted to film. The first part opens with discussions of the relations – real, imagined, intended, inadvertent – between films and their audiences: the Fascist promotion of Italian fiction films in the US in the 1930s, and the creation of the once much-scorned but now revalued ‘casalinga di Voghera‘. A series of diverse analyses follows: the impact of the planned, begun but never completed films on the anni di piombo on the difficulties of representing 1970s Italy; the Dantean resonances in Pasolini’s Salò; Sorrentino’s aesthetic strategy in portraying Giulio Andreotti in Il Divo; and the interplay of aesthetics and politics in authorial interventions in recent documentaries. The second part is a celebration in many voices of the lives and works of Peter Bondanella and Chris Wagstaff, two leading scholars who have left large and enduring contributions to the analysis of Italian cinema.

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Lavazza Film Festival 2018

Le presentazioni speciali del 2018 Lavazza Italian Film Festival in Australia saranno: Lazzaro Felice di Alice Rohrwacher; Dogman di Matteo Garrone; Euforia dell’attrice e regista Valeria Golino; e le commedie come Ammore e Malavita dei Manetti Bros. Quest’anno il Festival celebra inoltre l’opera del regista e sceneggiatore Ferzan Özpetek con una retrospettiva che includerà alcuni dei suoi capolavori tra cui Le Fate Ignoranti e Mine vaganti. Il programma completo verrà annunciato in agosto.   Continue reading

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Addio a Carlo Vanzina (1951-2018)

 

Gino Moliterno    ANU

Son of veteran director, Steno (Stefano Vanzina) and younger brother of Enrico, who produced and regularly co-wrote most of his more than 60 films, Carlo Vanzina (1951-2018) could probably, more than any other Italian director, lay claim to have lived his whole life in films. At the age of only one he had appeared in a cameo as the cute infant in Totò e le donne, one of the many films that Steno had directed for that inimitable “prince of comedy”, Antonio de Curtis. After graduating from the Lycée Chateaubriand in Rome, the young Carlo nurtured hopes of becoming a film critic but was inevitably drawn into a more active role in the cinema, first as an assistant on a handful of his father’s films and then serving a more challenging apprenticeship as assistant director to that other great practitioner of the commedia all’italiana, Mario Monicelli. In a recent interview Vanzina had remembered how Monicelli regularly gave him a hard time on the set, a practice that he had at first resented but had later understood to be the older director’s way of better teaching him all the finer points of the craft of filmmaking.    Continue reading

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‘An Eye on Italy’: analysing Italian visual culture

A selection of papers from a conference in Adelaide in late 2016, An Eye on Italy: Continuities and transformations in Italian visual culture, has just been published in the online journal FULGOR (vol.5, no.3, June 2018). As the editors (Luciana d’Arcangeli, Sally Hill and Claire Kennedy) note, the theme of violence recurs in most of the papers: Claudia Bernardi’s analysis of Fernando Di Leo’s adaptation of Scerbanenco’s I ragazzi del massacro (1968); Luciana d’Arcangeli’s examination of the place of women in Matteo Garrone’s noir films; Brigid Maher’s exploration of the representation in the film and comic-book versions of Massimo Carlotto’s Arrivederci amore, ciao; and Barbara Pezzotti’s comparison of the film and tv versions of Giancarlo De Cataldo’s Romanzo criminale (2002), focusing on the representation of the Bologna station massacre of 1980. The issue, all of which is directly accessible, is completed by Sally Hill’s consideration of the relation between maternity and disability in recent Italian films and by a short interview with De Cataldo.

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