Italian Film in the Shadow of Auschwitz

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Overview

The last decade has witnessed an outpouring of Italian films that deal with Fascism, anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. This would appear to mark a distinct change from the postwar reluctance to represent such an infamous history. Roberto Benigni?s popular Life is Beautiful (1997) is an obvious example, but there have been a number of other works that have not been exported that also attest to a distinct tendency within Italian domestic production to address the issue. Millicent Marcus?s Italian Film in the Shadow of Auschwitz looks at this development, attributing the new acceptance not only to an international film sensation, but to a domestic cultural climate at once receptive to Holocaust representation, and ready to produce its own forms of historical testimony.

Throughout the book, Marcus brings a variety of perspectives ? psychoanalytical, ideological, mass cultural ? to bear on the question of how Italian filmmakers are confronting the Holocaust, and why now given the sparse output of Holocaust films produced in Italy from 1945 to the early 1990s. What emerges is a fascinating look at how film is being used to confront a particularly damning aspect of cultural history.

Marcus?s study features in-depth analyses of five recent Italian films: Ricky Tognazzi?s Canone inverso, Ettore Scola?s Concorrenza sleale, Andrea and Antonio Frazzi?s Il cielo cade, Alberto Negrin?s Perlasca, and Ferzan Ozpetek?s La finestra di fronte. As an added feature, the book includes a DVD of Scola?s short film ?43??97, which has been unavailable outside of Italy until now.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802091895
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Publication date: 2/24/2009
  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Millicent Marcus is a professor in the Department of Italian at Yale University.
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     ix
Historical Background Sketch     3
Weak Memory: From the End of the Second World War to the End of the Cold War, with a Foray into the 1990s
Ghost Stories: An Introduction     13
Grief Work     13
The Case of Rosetta Loy's La parola ebreo     20
A Diaphanous Body of Films     28
Soon After (1947-9): L'ebreo errante, Il grido della terra, Il monastero di Santa Chiara     30
The Second Wave (1960-6): Tutti a casa, Kapo, L'oro di Roma, Sandra, Andremo in citta     35
Breaking New Ground (the 1970s): Garden of the Finzi-Continis, Diario di un italiano, The Night Porter, Seven Beauties, La linea del fiume     46
A Dearth of Films, Offset by the Arrival of the TV Mini-series (the 1980s): L'ebreo fascista, Storia d'amore e d'amicizia, La Storia, Gli occhiali d'oro     62
After the Thaw (the 1990s): Jona che visse nella balena, 18.000 giorni fa, Life Is Beautiful, The Truce     70
Recovered Memory: Contemporary Italian Holocaust Films in Depth
The Haunting Strains of Holocaust Memory: Ricky Tognazzi's Canone inverso (Making Love)     85
A Childhood Paradise Lost: Andrea and Antonio Frazzi's Il cielo cade (The Sky Is Falling)     99
The Alter-Biography of the Other-in-Our-Midst: Ettore Scola's Concorrenza sleale (Unfair Competition)     111
The Holocaust Rescue Narrative and the Endof Ideology: Alberto Negrin's Perlasca: Un eroe italiano (Perlasca: The Courage of a Just Man)     125
The Present through the Eyes of the Past: Ferzan Ozpetek's La finestra di fronte (Facing Windows)     140
Postscript - A Glimpse at 2004: Il servo ungherese (The Hungarian Servant) and La fuga degli innocenti (The Flight of the Innocents)     153
Epilogue: The Holocaust, the Cinema, and 'the Italian Case' in Ettore Scola's '43-'97     161
Bibliography     169
Film Index     175
General Index     179
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