Stardom and the Aesthetics of Neorealism
Ingrid Bergman in Rossellini's Italy
By Ora Gelley
Routledge – 2012 – 192 pages
In this exciting new book, Gelley considers the collaboration between Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman in light of the neorealist aesthetic. This study re-examines the director's postwar works in relation to the contemporary discussion on Italian national identity: rather than marking a radical break with the director's early neorealist successes, Rossellini's films with Bergman in fact extend the boundaries of neorealism and challenge the standard reading of its basic tenets, especially the relationship between character and setting.
Gelley reassesses the relationship between European postwar and American cinema, looking at how the image of the Hollywood star was translated and transformed when it was imported into Rossellini's Italy. Rossellini's insertion of the Hollywood star into the native landscape had a significant influence on the director's approach to the neorealist aesthetic. His filming of the encounter between Bergman and the Italian landscape involves not only a re-interpretation and transformation of the Hollywood star persona, but also a challenge to the idealized notion of an authentic Italian national collective free of foreign influence. The disruption of Bergman's character into the Italian landscape became one means whereby the director was able to explore the ambivalence inherent in any attempt to construct a national identity.
Introduction 1. Rossellini's War Trilogy: Italian Cinema and National Identity, 1945-50 2. Ingrid Bergman's Star Persona: Blurring the Boundaries 3. Ingrid Bergman and the Alien Space of Stromboli 4. Europa '51: The Face of the Star in Neorealism's Urban Landscape 5. Voyage to Italy: The Powers of Dispersion 6. Conclusion
Ora Gelley is Assistant Professor of Film Studies at North Carolina State University.