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Filming the Past in Contemporary Italy. A Map of the Forms and the Structures of Historical Cinema (1990-2015).

Lovascio, Martina (2018) Filming the Past in Contemporary Italy. A Map of the Forms and the Structures of Historical Cinema (1990-2015). PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Structured around a distant reading methodology, this thesis investigates the field of contemporary Italian historical cinema, by drawing on a large body of films set in the past – more than four hundred titles – produced between 1990 and 2015, whose approaches to the cinematic narration of history variably ranges from serious historical adaptations to costume drama and popular comedies. Such films are investigated both in relation to their most recurrent and paradigmatic themes, tropes, narrative structures and ideological stances in engaging with the past on screen and in regard to the context they originate from – the Italian film industry. The former analysis is mainly textual and addresses the films’ immaterial and symbolic traits, while the latter is contextual and identifies the films’ patterns of production, distribution and selling, while engaging with the creative networks linked to the them, and assessing their impact through factors such as box office performance, international circulation and festival participation. This thesis is thus on the one hand a study on the forms of historical cinema produced in Italy between 1990 and 2015, engaging with such questions as: what does the representation of the past look like on screen? Which historical periods are represented the most? Which protagonists and which stories recur in the cinematic staging of different historical periods foregrounded by Italian cinema? On the other hand, it also analyses its underlying structures – outlined in relation to the context of the domestic film industry, in which film production, as for most European countries, is highly sustained both from public institution and thanks to the financial involvement of public broadcasters. Ultimately, this thesis aims to define contemporary Italian historical cinema’s identity, by assessing its cultural positioning within a spectrum that spans from domestic notions of quality, overlapping with politically-committed cinema (cinema impegnato) and auteur cinema, and the mainstream.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Theatre, Film & Television (York)
Depositing User: Miss Martina Lovascio
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2019 13:43
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2019 13:43
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23905

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