National Cinema in the Postmodern Age
Over the past twenty-five years, Italy's film industry has produced a remarkable number of award-winning international art-house hits, among them Cinema Paradiso and Life Is Beautiful. Despite these successes, Italian cinema is in a state of crisis: ticket sales for domestic films, which plummeted in the l980's, are only now beginning to recover; television deregulation has engendered a popular culture largely dependent on American programming; and the passing of an entire generation of brilliant auteurs—Rossellini, Viscounti, Pasolini, Antonioni, and Fellini—extinguished the revolutionary impulse which had characterized Italian filmmaking since the Second World War.
In After Fellini, Millicent Marcus contends that in the late 1980s and 1990s, a new wave of Italian filmmakers has transcended these obstacles and reasserted Italy's importance in world cinema. Through in-depth critiques of such acclaimed films as The Last Emperor,Caro Diario, and Stolen Children, as well as the immensely popular Cinema Paradiso and Life Is Beautiful, Marcus details how today's auteurs have both reflected and resisted Italy's shifting social, political, and cultural identity, and created a body of work that signals a new beginning for Italian cinema.
About the Author
Millicent Marcus is Mariano DiVito Professor of Italian Studies in the Department of Romance Languages and Director of the Center of Italian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
"Detailed and persuasive, this book makes an important contribution to the study of contemporary Italian film."
"Marcus is always at her best in the description and analysis of the characters in the films she explores... The Italian cinema, in her master project, is a human comedy of characters. Typically she will tease out the intricate relationship, say, of the three brothers of Rosi's film to each other, to their parents, and to their wives and lovers. In doing so, she will invariably keep one eye on the cinematic deployment of shots and another on the nuances of difference the same characters present in a source text."
"Millicent Marcus's book offers new conclusions about continuities and changes in the mapping of cinematic landscapes. Nothing in English rivals her interpretations of Visconti's Bellissima, Rosi's Three Brothers and The Truce, Amelio's Stolen Children, Benigni's Life Is Beautiful, and Moretti's Caro diario. After Fellini will become the benchmark for any further study of contemporary Italian cinema."
"Millicent Marcus's After Fellini: National Cinema in the Postmodern Age makes a highly original contribution to the study of Italian cinema. Through close analysis of a series of individual recent films, she sets the record straight about Italian cinema's contributions to the medium during the last two decades of the twentieth century and demonstrates that the new Italian cinema following in Fellini's footsteps promises a bright future in the new millennium."
"Scholars of film as well as those who enjoy Italian cinema will welcome this fine survey by Marcus."
"To open this book is to walk into Marcus' own Cinema Paradiso where the present and the past of Italian cinema deliciously mingle. Anyone disappointed with what the movies have become will be restored by her acuity, her erudition, and by the warmth of her prose as she fondly evokes what remains the most marvelously human of national cinemas."
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