Chiara Barni, "On the Edge Between Antiquity and Modernity: Rovinismo in Italian Authorial Cinema from 1960s to Today"
Ruins constitute the distinctive element of the Roman cityscape’s mise-en-scène. Drawing on the history of rovinismo, I argue that Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s etchings are a frequent touchstone for Italian authorial films. My study focuses on the years of Italy’s so-called boom. As the rubble of WWII disappeared from the screen, Federico Fellini and Pier Paolo Pasolini framed the ruins of antiquity, which became the symbol of the disintegration of modern humanity’s deep-rooted beliefs. With radically different means of expression, and coming to different conclusions, the two directors considered the same burdensome question: What to do with the ruins of the past? I trace possible answers by analyzing La dolce vita and Mamma Roma, exploring how Fellini and Pasolini adopted the imagery of rovinismo to make sense of a time of sudden change, new identities, and loss. I will also briefly mention the two auteurs’ echoes on more recent Italian films, such as The Great Beauty.
This is the first of four Visual Cultures Workshops scheduled for Spring 2022.
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