La rivista di italianistica Forum Italicum lancia il call for papers sul ritorno di Roma nel cinema italiano. Dopo Fellini e Pasolini e altri, ora Paolo Sorrentino (La grande bellezza) Gianfranco Rosi (Sacro GRA) e Federico Zampaglione (Tulpa) riportano sul grande schermo la realtà e anche l’immaginario di Roma, il centro storico e la periferia.
Le proposte di contributi entro il 25 novembre 2014.
Have Fireflies Disappeared? Cultural Legacies and Apocalyptic Imaginary in Twenty-first-century Representations of Rome
2013 witnessed the production of three films – Paolo Sorrentino’s La grande bellezza, Gianfranco Rosi’s Sacro GRA, and Federico Zampaglione’s Tulpa – all set in Rome and its environments, and all characterized by a remarkable focus on the urban cityscape in its various shapes: the historical city centre (Sorrentino), the ring-road highway around Rome (Rosi), and the EUR district (Zampaglione).
It seems, however, as if these films, in representing Rome from various angles, equally engage themselves in a meta-dialogue with specific traditions in representing and narrativizing Rome’s urban space, thereby reactivating, in a more or less explicit way, specific and well-recognizable Rome-related imaginaries.
Whereas Sorrentino’s confrontation with Fellini’s representation of Rome – and most notably with La dolce vita (1960), Satyricon (1969), and Roma (1972) – has been generally highlighted by criticism, it can be equally said Rosi manages to productively reorient the legacy of Neorealism, through the documentary genre, in order to mirror a disconnected and fragmentary cityscape, paying at the same time an attention to peripheral and marginal aspects of city-life in the tradition of Pasolini; from a completely different angle, Zampaglione’s film too can be seen as the reactivation of a long-established way of perceiving and filming Rome, in this case the city’s modernism as a setting for the Italian giallo, and EUR as a peculiarly uncanny venue as represented, for instance, in Fellini’s Le tentazioni del Dottor Antonio (1962).
Of course, the immediate recognition these three movies received on a national and international scale – La grande bellezza being in competition at Cannes, and awarded the BAFTA and the Academy Awards; Sacro GRA winning the Golden Lion at Venice; Tulpa being acclaimed by Italian and international specialized press as the “rebirth” of Italian cinema di genere– raise significant questions about Rome-related imaginary, the self-perception of Italian cinema and its impact abroad, and most of all about the long-lasting influence of Fellini, Pasolini, and Italian Neorealism (and, to some extent, of giallo all’italiana) in aesthetic, political, and critical terms. To paraphrase the title of a recent book by Pierpaolo Antonello, can contemporary representations of Rome forget the triad Fellini-Pasolini-Argento? Is the perception of Rome’s cityscape trapped within aesthetics belonging to another time, being therefore condemned to the incessant revival of Mamma Roma and La dolce vita? What is the meaning of reactivating experiences that were deeply rooted in a much different socio-political context in order to mirror contemporary Rome and contemporary Italy?
Our approach takes 2013 as the starting point for interrogating the role of revivalism in twenty-first-century images of Rome, as well as its broader implications in aesthetic, political, and even scholarly terms. In particular, it aims at showing how representations of Rome, stemming from the legacies of Pasolini and Fellini, often intersect “apocalyptic” discourses on Italian society, politics, and culture, in which the portrayal of Rome can be variously used as a synecdoche for an overall diagnosis of Italy’s (apparently incessant) “decadence”, or, conversely (conventionally?), as a site of implicit subversion, through a depiction of marginalized areas and communities.
Call for Papers
We invite papers exploring the ways an imaginary inherited from the 1960s and 1970s still influences, in subtly anachronistic ways, contemporary narratives about Rome, moving or not from the aforementioned films, and covering a most varied range of sources (cinema, literature, essays, journal articles, popular media, visual arts).
In particular, our approach aims to tackle, in the light of Rome’s case study, broader questions about the legacies of the 1960s and the 1970s in aesthetic, ideological, political, and social terms; inter-generational positionings and the “myth” of the Italian 1960s-70s as the age “when things happened” (as a recent book by Andrea Minuz would put it, “quando c’eravamo noi”, the crisis of post-Berlinguer Italian left being a powerful metaphor for narrativizing the crises of cinema, literature, canzone d’autore, and culture broadly intended); the image of Rome and Italy abroad, including discussion on its clichés and its broader implications as far as Italian Studies as a discipline is concerned; the persistent image of “fireflies” as a metaphor for diagnosing Italy’s problematic relationship with modernity and progress, the nostalgia for the “umile Italia”, and the persistent myth of the “failed revolution”.
Please send a proposed title, a short abstract (about 250-500 words), and a brief bio-bibliographical profile to F.Camilletti@warwick.ac.uk by 25 November 2014 at the latest.
Papers can be in English and Italian, and we warmly advise authors to write in their mother tongue in order to avoid predictable delays due to proofreading. Selection will take place in the following days, and we aim to contact authors in a very short course (by 30 November).
The first deadline for sending papers is 30 April 2015, with the aim of submitting reviewed and proofread articles by September 2015 at the latest.
Forum Italicum (http://www.italianstudies.org/Forum.htm), Spring 2016
Guest editors: Fabio Camilletti (University of Warwick), Filippo Trentin (ICI Berlin)