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Schooling in Modernity

Schooling in Modernity: The Politics of Sponsored Films in Postwar Italy

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 304
  • Book Info
    Schooling in Modernity
    Book Description:

    Paola Bonifazio investigates the ways in which films sponsored by Italian and American government agencies promoted a particular vision of modernization and industry and functioned as tools to govern the Italian people.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6947-5
    Subjects: Film Studies, History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-24)

    On 8 August 1952, at the height of the Cold War, a parish priest from the “red” region of Emilia made a suggestion to the government of Italy. In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi, Father Italo wrote:

    We the clergy live among the people and know their psychology, and thus the means to attract them. Every province or region should make a documentary film about all the works completed by the government […] Presented everywhere, in piazzas and in movie theatres, accompanied by a short commentary at the end, these films would obtain more results than...

  7. Chapter One Work, Welfare, Neorealism
    (pp. 25-50)

    During the first decade of the Republic of Italy (1948–58), the two primary governmental agencies involved in film production were Italy’s Centro di Documentazione (CdD), part of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, and the film unit of the US Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA).¹ The Centro di Documentazione was opened at the behest of Alcide De Gasperi, and between 1951 and 1960 it commissioned about two hundred film shorts from private producers, such as Astra Cinematografica and Documento Film, and from the ex-Fascist Istituto Luce (National Film Institute), which had been closed in 1947 but reopened in 1948.²...

  8. Chapter Two Sneaky Sponsors
    (pp. 51-86)

    In depicting industrial labour, the short films sponsored by the Economic Cooperation Administration and by the Centro di Documentazione constituted an exception in the context of Italian cinema of the 1950s, perhaps because it was practically impossible to get permission to shoot inside a factory, or because large-scale manual labour arguably held little entertainment value. In a publication edited by the Archivio Audiovisivo del Movimento Operaio e Democratico (Audiovisual Archive of the Working Class and Democratic Movement, AAMOD) marking the centenary of cinema in 1995, Ansano Giannarelli wrote that cinema’s relation to labour, industrial labour in particular, is quantitatively not...

  9. Chapter Three Filming the Housing Revolution
    (pp. 87-114)

    At the inauguration of a housing project in the Roman district of Acilia, in 1950, Professor Gustavo Colonetti declared:

    We gave them more than just a roof, a material shelter against the elements. We wanted to rebuild for them the centre of family life, so that they might rightfully call it their home, the foothold from whence they might gradually reassimilate into society and regain their dignity as men and citizens.¹

    Colonetti’s statements exemplify a discourse on housing that was dominant in postwar Italy, where programs of reconstruction and urbanization contributed simultaneously to the physical and spiritual renewal of individuals,...

  10. Chapter Four South Like North
    (pp. 115-144)

    Directed by Nelo Risi for Olivetti in 1960, the filmSud come Nord(South Like North) depicted the transformation of Pozzuoli, a southern city near Naples, thanks to the opening of a new plant. Crafted in a traditional documentary style,Sud come Nordprovided national and foreign viewers with evidence that the Italian economy was flourishing nationwide. It demonstrated, furthermore, the mystifying power of the idea that the “backwardness” of southern Italy impeding the country’s modernization was due to the natural predispositions of southern Italians, who were lazy, passive, and pessimistic. Thus, Risi’s film challenged the discourse of the Southern...

  11. Chapter Five “United Europe Starts in School”
    (pp. 145-168)

    In 1991, the director of the Cineteca Lucana (Lucanian Film Archive), Gaetano Martino, found twelve thousand reels, twenty thousand volumes, and five hundred projectors, still in their boxes, in an abandoned warehouse adjoining a primary school in the San Lorenzo neighbourhood in Rome. These materials belonged to the Cineteca Autonoma per la Cinematografia Scolastica (Independent Film Library for Educational Cinema), an institution created in 1938 as part of the Fascist Luce Film Institute to produce and distribute films for use as audiovisual aids in classrooms.¹ The Cineteca Autonoma closed in 1944 and then reopened in 1951 as the Cineteca Scolastica...

  12. Chapter Six Histories through Tabloids
    (pp. 169-198)

    In 1953, speaking of the widely shown newsreelLa Settimana Incom, an Italian journalist wrote inCinema Nuovo, “These friends of ours with this light-heartedness [spensieratezza] of theirs run the risk of confusing our memory.”¹ In 1964, Italo Calvino used the expression “provocative cheerfulness” (spavalda allegria) to describe the general climate right after the Liberation, which was in his mind conducive to an earnest collective recollection of the immediate past of the Resistance, a way of release.² A few years later, the same “spavalda allegria” of Incom would have the opposite goals of making people forget (and forgive). The imperative...

  13. Filmography
    (pp. 199-236)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 237-274)
  15. Film Catalogues
    (pp. 275-276)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 277-286)
  17. Index
    (pp. 287-305)