Italian Silent Cinema

Italian Silent Cinema

A Reader
Edited by Giorgio Bertellini
Distribution: North America and Asia
Publication date: 10/2/2013
Format: paper 401 pages, 45 color illus., 112 b&w illus.
7 x 10
ISBN: 9780-86196-670-7
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Description

Highly commended, Kraszna-Krausz Foundation's Best Moving Image Book Award, 2014
Italian Silent Cinema: A Reader explores the largely forgotten world of Italian silent cinema, including its historical epics, comedies, serials, and romance melodramas. Thirty essays by leading scholars examine topics such as pre-cinema, international distribution, stardom, acting styles, literary adaptation, futurism, nonfiction filmmaking, and local exhibition. This groundbreaking and richly illustrated volume introduces scholars and students alike to a wealth of films, archival documents, and critical research.
Distributed for John Libbey Publishing

Author Bio

Giorgio Bertellini is Associate Professor of Italian and Screen Arts and Cultures at the University of Michigan.

Reviews

"From Giorgio Bertellini’s brilliant introduction, which provides a compelling framework for re-evaluating Italian silent cinema, to the final essays, which invite the reader to become an active explorer of this rich cultural heritage, Italian Silent Cinema: A Reader offers a compelling, multi-faceted matrix for all those ready to grapple seriously with a crucial national cinema of the silent era. Most importantly, its many insights into Italian film culture necessarily require a reevaluation of French, American and other European cinemas of the silent era and alter our understandings of the ways early cinema embodied conceptions of modernity." —Charles Musser, Yale University

"This overflowing anthology achieves the near-impossible – in detail and aggregate alike a rich comprehensive examination of Italian silent cinema that is at once historical and transnational, providing approaches that identify and clarify the varied contexts for films’ emergence, the products, and the artistic, commercial and socio-political impetus that propelled a vibrant national film culture. Giorgio Bertellini’s book is a gift to the silent film novice (who may not fully grasp this editor’s largesse) and a trustworthy vademecum for the advanced scholar who will be aware of how much has been previously overlooked and which now awaits closer study." —David Mayer, Emeritus Professor, University of Manchester

"This volume is a major critical and historical reassessment of an important but sometimes overlooked era in Italian filmmaking. For the reader who thinks neorealism of the 1940s marked the entry of Italian film on international screens, this book will be a revelation. The specialist reader will benefit from the book’s inspired emphasis on creating a dialogue between Italian scholars and other film experts from across the globe. The result is that—like its subject—this carefully crafted, copiously illustrated anthology is a marvelous achievement!" —
Gaylyn Studlar, David May Distinguished Professor in the Humanities and Director, Program in Film & Media Studies, Washington University in St. Louis

"This wide-ranging and original volume succeeds in its aim of silencing, once and for all, the familiar story that reduces Italy’s cinematic legacy to a few historical epics like Cabiria and Quo Vadis while awaiting Italian cinema’s ultimate deliverance in post WWII neo-realism. The extraordinary thing is that it does so by maintaining a balance between rigorously detailed archival materials, historical specificity, and theoretically acute interpretive analyses. The result is a fascinating reconsideration of the conceptual models that have been foundational for histories of film and visual culture in English-language studies, and an essential reminder that our ability to assess cinema’s past depends on a commitment to international collaboration and translation. Italian Silent Cinema: A Reader represents the very best in film historical scholarship today." —Jennifer Bean, Director of Cinema and Media Studies and Associate Chair of the Department of Comparative Literature, University of Washington

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Traveling Lightness
PART I: Methods and Objects
Chapter 1: Silent Film Historiography and Italian (Film) Historiography, Gian Piero Brunetta
Chapter 2: A Brief Cultural History of Italian Film Archives (1980-2005), Paolo Cherchi Usai
PART II: Italian Silent Cinema’s Visual Cultures
Chapter 3: Italy and Pre-Cinematic Visual Culture, Carlo Alberto Zotti Minici
Chapter 4: Photography and Cinema, and Vice Versa, Giorgio Bertellini
Chapter 5: Visualizing the Past. The Italian City in Early Cinema, Marco Bertozzi
PART III: Production Companies and Contexts
Chapter 6: The Giant Ambrosio, or Italy's Most Prolific Silent Film Company, Claudia Gianetto
Chapter 7: The “Pastrone System:” Itala Film from the Origins to World War I, Silvio Alovisio
Chapter 8: Rome’s Premiere Film Studio: Società Italiana Cines, Kim Tomadjoglou
Chapter 9: Milano Films: The Exemplary History of a Film Company of the 1910s, Raffaele De Berti
Chapter 10: Southern (and Southernist) Italian Cinema, Giorgio Bertellini
Chapter 11: Italian Cinema in the 1920s, Jacqueline Reich
Chapter 12: From Wonder to Propaganda: The Technological Context of Italian Silent Cinema, Luca Giuliani
PART IV: Genres
Chapter 13: Non-Fiction Production, Aldo Bernardini
Chapter 14: In Hoc Signo Vinces: Historical Films, Giuliana Muscio
Chapter 15: All the same or Strategies of Difference. Early Italian Comedies in International Perspective, Ivo Blom
Chapter 16: The Diva-Film: Context, Actresses, Issues, Angela Dalle Vacche
Chapter 17: Early Italian Serials and (Inter-)National-Popular Culture, Monica Dall’Asta
Chapter 18: Futurist Cinema: Ideas and Novelties, Giovanni Lista
Chapter 19: STRACITTÀ: Cinema, Rationalism, Modernism, and Italy’s “Second Futurism”, Leonardo Quaresima
Chapter 20: Istituto Nazionale Luce: a National Company with an International Reach, Pierluigi Erbaggio
PART V: Cinematic Words: On Paper, On Stage, On Screen
Chapter 21: Film on Paper: Early Italian Cinema Literature, 1907-1920, John P. Welle
Chapter 22: On the Language of Silent Films in Italy, Sergio Raffaelli
Chapter 23: Famous Actors, Famous Actresses: Notes on Acting Style in Italian Silent Films, Francesco Pitassio
Chapter 24: “Our Beautiful and Glorious Art Lives:” The Rhetoric of Nationalism in Early Italian Film Periodicals, John David Rhodes
Chapter 25: Italy’s Early Film “Theories:” Borders and Crossings, Francesco Casetti
PART VI: Circulation, Exhibition, and Reception
Chapter 26: Disordered Traffic: Film Distribution in Italy (1905-1930), Chiara Caranti
Chapter 27: “Pictures from Italy:” Italian Silent films in Britain, 1907-1915, Pierluigi Ercole
Chapter 28: Research on Local Moviegoing: Trends and Future Perspectives, Paolo Caneppele
PART VII:Research
Chapter 29: Where Can I Find Italian Silent Cinema?, Ivo Blom
Chapter 30: Cinema on Paper: Researching Non-filmic Materials, Luca Mazzei
Bibliography
Reference Works
Primary Sources
Secondary Sources
Bibliographic Appendix: Film Exhibition and Spectatorship by Paolo Caneppele
Contributors
Indexes
Film Titles
Names
Film Companies and Institutions
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