A Cinema of Poetry: Aesthetics of the Italian Art Film

A Cinema of Poetry: Aesthetics of the Italian Art Film

by Joseph Luzzi


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A Cinema of Poetry brings Italian film studies into dialogue with fields outside its usual purview by showing how films can contribute to our understanding of aesthetic questions that stretch back to Homer. Joseph Luzzi considers the relation between film and literature, especially the cinematic adaptation of literary sources and, more generally, the fields of rhetoric, media studies, and modern Italian culture.

The book balances theoretical inquiry with close readings of films by the masters of Italian cinema: Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, Luchino Visconti, Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Bernardo Bertolucci, and others. Luzzi's study is the first to show how Italian filmmakers address such crucial aesthetic issues as the nature of the chorus, the relation between symbol and allegory, the literary prehistory of montage, and the place of poetry in cinematic expression—what Pasolini called the "cinema of poetry."

While Luzzi establishes how certain qualities of film—its link with technological processes, capacity for mass distribution, synthetic virtues (and vices) as the so-called total art—have reshaped centuries-long debates, A Cinema of Poetry also explores what is specific to the Italian art film and, more broadly, Italian cinematic history. In other words, what makes this version of the art film recognizably "Italian"?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781421419848
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 03/30/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Joseph Luzzi is a professor of comparative literature at Bard College. He is the author of Romantic Europe and the Ghost of Italy, which received the MLA’s Scaglione Prize for Italian Studies; My Two Italies, a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice; and In a Dark Wood: What Dante Taught Me about Grief, Healing, and the Mysteries of Love.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Introduction: Toward a Poetics of the Italian Art Film 3

Part 1 Neorealist Rhetoric and National Identity

1 The Chorus of Neorealism 19

2 Beyond Beauty: Cinematic Allegory and the Question of Italy 36

Part 2 Cinemas of Poetry

3 Rossellini's Cinema of Poetry: Voyage to Italy 53

4 Poesis in Pasolini: Theory and Practice 70

Part 3 Aesthetic Corsi and Ricorsi

5 Threat of the Real: Fact and Image in Antonioni 89

6 Chiasmus, Italian Style: Rhetoric and Ideology in The Leopard and The Conformist 107

7 Verbal Montage and Visual Apostrophe: Zanzottos "Filo" and Fellini's Voice of the Moon 124

Epilogue: Art Film Redux: Cinepoetics in the New Millennium 143

Notes 161

Works Cited 189

Index 205

What People are Saying About This

Millicent Marcus

"Luzzi brings a set of powerful resources to his new study: a vast erudition, an ear finely attuned to inter-arts allusions, and an ability to discern the workings of poetic tropes within the language of cinema. The result is a deepened understanding of the category of the aesthetic as it relates to Italian film criticism and an affirmation of the riches that this body of canonical films offers to scholars and lay connoisseurs of the seventh art."

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