The Transatlantic Gaze: Italian Cinema, American Film

Overview

Tracks the influence of Italian cinema on American film from the postwar period to the present.

In The Transatlantic Gaze, Mary Ann McDonald Carolan documents the sustained and profound artistic impact of Italian directors, actors, and screenwriters on American film. Working across a variety of genres, including neorealism, comedy, the Western, and the art film, Carolan explores how and why American directors from Woody Allen to Quentin Tarantino have adapted certain Italian ...

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Transatlantic Gaze, The

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Overview

Tracks the influence of Italian cinema on American film from the postwar period to the present.

In The Transatlantic Gaze, Mary Ann McDonald Carolan documents the sustained and profound artistic impact of Italian directors, actors, and screenwriters on American film. Working across a variety of genres, including neorealism, comedy, the Western, and the art film, Carolan explores how and why American directors from Woody Allen to Quentin Tarantino have adapted certain Italian trademark techniques and motifs. Allen’s To Rome with Love (2012), for example, is an homage to the genius of Italian filmmakers, and to Federico Fellini in particular, whose Lo sceicco bianco/The White Sheik (1952) also resonates with Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) as well as with Neil LaBute’s Nurse Betty (2000). Tarantino’s Kill Bill saga (2003, 2004) plays off elements of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Western C’era una volta il West/Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), a transatlantic conversation about the Western that continues in Tarantino’s Oscar-winning Django Unchained (2012). Lee Daniels’s Precious (2009) and Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna (2008), meanwhile, demonstrate that the neorealism of Roberto Rossellini and Vittorio De Sica, which arose from the political and economic exigencies of postwar Italy, is an effective vehicle for critiquing social issues such as poverty and racism in a contemporary American context. The book concludes with an examination of American remakes of popular Italian films, a comparison that offers insight into the similarities and differences between the two cultures and the transformations in genre, both subtle and obvious, that underlie this form of cross-cultural exchange.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“…Carolan has written an astutely focused text on a universally acknowledged subject, but one that is rarely covered these days, even in academia … this book is an excellent reference for scholars and could provide movie buffs or Italophiles with a wealth of film trivia.” — San Francisco Book Review
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Mary Ann McDonald Carolan is Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures and Director of the Italian Studies Program at Fairfield University.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments

I. Introduction

II. Screen Idols and Female Admirers in The White Sheik (Fellini, 1952), The Purple Rose of Cairo (Allen, 1985), and Nurse Betty (LaBute, 2000)

III. The Art of Film Reconsidered: Blow-Up (Antonioni, 1966) and Blow Out (De Palma, 1981)

IV. The Evolving Western: From America to Italy and Back in Once Upon a Time in the West (Leone, 1968) and Kill Bill: Volumes 1 and 2 (Tarantino, 2003 and 2004)

V. Neorealism Revisited by African American Directors in the New Millennium: Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire (Daniels, 2009) and Miracle at St. Anna (Lee, 2008)

VI. Whither the Remake?

VII. Conclusion

Notes
Bibliography
Index

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