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By Joseph Luzzi

A Cinema of Poetry brings Italian movie experiences into discussion with fields outdoors its ordinary purview by way of exhibiting how movies can give a contribution to our figuring out of aesthetic questions that reach again to Homer. Joseph Luzzi considers the relation among movie and literature, particularly the cinematic edition of literary resources and, extra usually, the fields of rhetoric, media reviews, and glossy Italian culture.

The publication 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 research is the 1st to teach how Italian filmmakers handle such an important aesthetic concerns 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 known as the "cinema of poetry."

While Luzzi establishes how definite characteristics of movie, its hyperlink with technological strategies, capability 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 commonly, Italian cinematic historical past. In different phrases, what makes this model of the artwork movie recognizably "Italian"?

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His quest for personal identity—he shares his grandfather padron ’Ntoni’s name but not his worldview—becomes a linguistic struggle against the proverbs of his elders (gli antichi) and the family dead (i morti). He dares to interpret where interpretation is forbidden, and his hermeneutic transgression transforms the epic narrative surrounding his family for centuries into the tragic, discursive openness of his failed bildungsroman. As with the proverbs in Verga—reified figures of speech much like Dante’s metaphors of contrapasso in Inferno—Visconti’s images of chorality in La terra trema represent immutable cultural practices that stand to revive an 34 Neorealist Rhetoric and National Identity epic past threatened by a modernizing world and its novelistic discourses, which find a spokesperson in the “antichoral” ’Ntoni.

31 The criticism has also considered Verga’s recourse to the Homeric subtext for archetypal themes and visual iconography, most famously in the twin faraglioni, the rocks reputedly hurled by the Cyclops after the fleeing Ulysses. More than physical boundaries, the rocks delimit the horizon of the characters’ worldview, since the stones divide the familiar world of tradition from an uncomprehending modernity, seductive in its promises but cruel in its offerings (’Ntoni states that, beyond the faraglioni the current is likely to destroy).

The following words from 1952 by Vittorio De Sica’s acclaimed scriptwriter and a committed Marxist, Cesare Zavattini, distilled the politically inflected animus against literary narrative: “The most important characteristic, and the most important innovation, of what is called neorealism, it seems to me, is to have realised that the necessity of the ‘story’ was only an unconscious way of disguising a human defeat, and that the kind of imagination it involved was simply a technique of superimposing dead formulas over living social facts” (Zavattini, “Some Ideas” 217).

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