Landscape and Memory in Post-Fascist Italian Film
Cinema Year Zero
Routledge – 2013 – 252 pages
This study argues that neorealism’s visual genius is inseparable from its almost invisible relation to the Fascist past: a connection inscribed in cinematic landscapes. While largely a silent narrative, neorealism’s complex visual processing of two decades of Fascism remains the greatest cultural production in the service of memorialization and comprehension for a nation that had neither a Nuremberg nor a formal process of reconciliation. Through her readings of canonical neorealist films, Minghelli unearths the memorial strata of the neorealist image and investigates the complex historical charge that invests this cinema. This book is both a formal analysis of the new conception of the cinematic image born from a crisis of memory, and a reflection on the relation between cinema and memory. Films discussed include Ossessione (1943) Paisà (1946), Ladri di biciclette (1948), and Cronaca di un amore (1950).
Landscape and Memory in Post-Fascist Italian Film's thesis is original, groundbreaking, and inescapable. The notion of the present as what-comes-afterward – the repressed history of an unbearable and persistent past revealed in the neorealist landscape – is so perceptive that the reader has the feeling of understanding the post-war historical moment for the first time. At the core of the book is the question of our responsibility, the responsibility of not remaining passive. The book is so entrancing it will easily appeal to non-specialized readers. -Silvestra Mariniello, Université de Montréal, Canada
What appeals to me in Landscape and Memory in Post-Fascist Italian Film, and what makes it a contribution to the scholarship on neorealism, is the book’s powerful ethical charge. I was often moved and reminded why I am so drawn to this body of films. The writing is extremely limpid; the illustrations are effective supports to the arguments and of great visual interest. I can envision this book as part of the reading list of both undergraduate and graduate level courses.-Millicent Marcus, Yale University, USA
1. 1943 Visconti: The Haunted Frames of Ossessione 2. 1946 Rossellini: Landscape as Burial Ground 3. 1948 De Sica and Zavattini: Memory in Shadow and Stone 4. 1950 Antonioni: Cronaca di un Amore’s Landscapes of Remorse 5.: Epilogue as Prologue—Zavattini/Celati: Documentaristic Visions from Un Paese to Mondonuovo
Giuliana Minghelli is Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University, USA.