Volume 15, Issue 11 / November 2011

The Italian Filone

In this issue

In this issue Offscreen focuses on the first of two consecutive special issues on popular Italian cinema (this issue, 15/11, and the next, vol. 15, issue 12). The opening essay, “A Genealogy of Italian Popular Cinema: the Filone,” serves as a theoretical introduction to the main subject of the other nine pieces spread across this and next month’s issues. The first essay discusses the nuances of the Italian term for genre, filone, which identifies flexibility to mutate or incorporate ‘neighboring’ filoni as one of its defining qualities. Kieran Macnamara’s essay, “Virgil and Dante at the Cinecittà: The Influence of Epic Poetry on Italian Popular Cinema,” surprises by convincingly charting the influence of ancient Roman poet Virgil and 13th century poet Dante on the filoni (who would have thought). James Newton follows this with a textual analysis of Sergio Corbucci’s spaghetti western masterpiece, The Great Silence. Newton relates the film to the politicized period of the late 1960s, suggesting that its political qualities (targeting capitalism, as do many political spaghetti westerns, and reactionary politics) grow naturally from its clever and subtle subversion of (spaghetti) western conventions. As a warm up to next month’s issue, which was essentially the brainchild of Roberto Curti, the final two articles in this month’s issue feature Curti. First up is my own book review of the ever-prolific Curti’s latest book, Fantasmi D’Amore: Il Gotico Italiano Tra Cinema, Letteratura e TV (Phantom Lovers: The Italian Gothic Cinema Between Cinema, Literature and Television). If this continues I am going to need a whole shelf only for Curti’s books! The final piece is Curti’s own original festival report on the 22nd edition of the San Sebastián Horror and Fantasy Film Festival. If you are growing a little tired of the traditional festival report format, you’ll appreciate Curti’s quirky approach to the overlapping culinary and cinematic highlights of this year’s festival! As a sneak preview for next month’s issue, the theme is under-appreciated or ‘obscure’ popular Italian film directors, and will feature Francesco Barilli, Marcello Alipranda, Brunello Rondi, and another curio figure whose name will be kept silent for now. (Donato Totaro, ed.)

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