A Cinema of Poetry: Aesthetics of the Italian Art Film by Joseph Luzzi

By Joseph Luzzi

A Cinema of Poetry brings Italian movie stories into discussion with fields outdoors its ordinary purview by means of exhibiting how motion pictures can give a contribution to our realizing of aesthetic questions that extend again to Homer. Joseph Luzzi considers the relation among movie and literature, particularly the cinematic version of literary resources and, extra as a rule, the fields of rhetoric, media stories, and glossy Italian culture.

The booklet balances theoretical inquiry with shut readings of movies by means of 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 examine is the 1st to teach how Italian filmmakers deal with such the most important aesthetic matters because the nature of the refrain, the relation among image and allegory, the literary prehistory of montage, and where of poetry in cinematic expression, what Pasolini referred to as the "cinema of poetry."

While Luzzi establishes how definite features of movie, its hyperlink with technological procedures, potential for mass distribution, man made virtues (and vices) because the so-called overall artwork, have reshaped centuries-long debates, A Cinema of Poetry additionally explores what's particular to the Italian artwork movie and, extra largely, Italian cinematic historical past. In different phrases, what makes this model of the artwork movie recognizably "Italian"?

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In the first half of the film a meeting takes place between Manfredi, an Italian intellectual who represents the elite left of the Resistance, and Francesco, who embodies in Gramscian terms the organic proletarian vanguard in the ongoing class struggle. Their first encounter is over dinner, and the ensuing imagery is rife with symbols.

Despite his claims to the contrary (“I’ll be happy because from now on I’ll work for myself ”), ’Ntoni never manages to escape the choral forms that Visconti captures here in verbal and visual force. Together, Verga’s and Visconti’s representations of mythic Sicilian life recall Bakhtin’s distinction between epic and novelistic discourses. 35 To overcome this linguistic wall separating the absolute past of the epic from the present, the novelist introduces elements of linguistic heteroglossia, multiplicity of point of view, and competing ideological perspectives, which work together to vitiate what Bakhtin calls the closed circle of epic, inside of which everything “is finished, already over” (“Epic and Novel” 16).

An early sequence in Ladri di biciclette translates domestic choral imagery into a public, class-inflected montage of the proletariat going to work during Rome’s morning rush hour. Antonio and Bruno Ricci are shot in unison in a tender evocation of family and work life, an image then inserted into its broader choral context of cycling fellow laborers who jockey for position in the morning traffic. Still, Bazin writes, De Sica is a pessimistic director: neither Rossellinian Catholicism nor any other transcendental principle rescues the characters from the trials that ensue after the theft of Ricci’s bike.

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