Da ‘Sodoma’ a ‘Gomorra’: Framing Crisis and Rebirth in Italian Cinema

July 21, 2009 at 4:48 pm (Conference Information)

Confirmed Keynote Speakers: Prof. Peter Bondanella & Prof. Gian Piero Brunetta.

Confirmed Roundtable Panel: Dr. Guido Bonsaver, Dr. Robert Gordon, Dr. Alan O’Leary & Dr. Catherine O’Rawe.

22nd-24th January 2010, at the University of Warwick

From the 1970s, when Pier Paolo Pasolini shocked the world with his scandalous Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma, Italian cinema has been tagged by labels of crisis and a deadlocked stasis, yet contrastingly apotheosized through public recognition and allusions to rebirth. Never has this been more evident than in the last decade when simultaneously with polemical debates in the Italian press which have described the national cinema as suffering from a ‘crisi d’identità’ (E. G. della Loggia, 2007), films like Matteo Garrone’s Gomorra have triggered hope in the form of ‘il riscatto italiano’ (N. Aspesi, 2008).

In an attempt to bring synthesis to this polarizing tendency, a wavering image of the national cinema has emerged, marked by what Nanni Moretti refers to as ‘il vizio di stabilire, due o tre volte all’anno, lo stato di salute del cinema.’ Scholars have responded to the need to re-evaluate the role of Italian cinema from an international perspective through collaboratively re-envisioning methodological approaches and proposing a ‘more robust theoretical debate’ (C. O’Rawe and A. O’Leary, 2008). To mark the emergence of this focus of academic enquiry, the Department of Italian at the University of Warwick will host a conference which aims to contextualize and interrogate the notion of crisis and rebirth of contemporary Italian cinema.

The conference seeks to address the following key questions:

  • In what ways has the Italian socio-historical context informed the trends of national cinema over the last forty years?
  • To what extent can the crisis of Italian cinema be investigated in terms of mutating ideologies?
  • How has the engagement with and the identification of the spectator changed over the last four decades?
  • After auteurs such as Fellini, Antonioni, Bertolucci, and Pasolini, has Italian cinema exhausted the stylistic possibilities of a ‘linguaggio del cinema’?
  • With digital filmmaking constantly gaining popularity, how has recent cinema engaged with new technologies, and what is the scope for new generation of filmmakers to emerge?

Suggested areas of interest may include but are not limited to:

  • Film aesthetics and film style
  • Film theory and methodologies
  • Spectatorship and audience
  • Authors/auteurs; cinema as intellectual practice
  • National cinematic ‘canons’
  • Popular cinema
  • Academic and non-academic perspectives
  • Gender and/or genre
  • Adaptation and novelization
  • Political commitment and impegno
  • Realism(s) in cinema
  • Migration and cinema at/of the borders
  • Pan-European and transnational contexts

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