Cinema After Fascism: The Shattered Screen by S. Craig

By S. Craig

This incisive survey considers post-war ecu cinema, reading the methods filmmakers recognize the fascist past.

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Extra resources for Cinema After Fascism: The Shattered Screen

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Francesca (trying, perhaps, to salvage her “spettacolo” of romance) responds in an appropriate fashion for someone well trained in cinema, adjusting the lighting by throwing a shawl over the lamp. The rest of the scene is shot through filtered lenses, close-ups of both faces fully occupying the territory of 38 / cinema after fascism the screen, in marked contrast to the style of cinematography normally favored by neorealists. In the flashbacks to the liberation of Rome, Fred spends most of the scene shirtless, showing a well-developed torso and the boyish, seemingly effortless all-American charm of a young Ronald Reagan, whom he resembles.

In the flashbacks to the liberation of Rome, Fred spends most of the scene shirtless, showing a well-developed torso and the boyish, seemingly effortless all-American charm of a young Ronald Reagan, whom he resembles. Later, he hides from the gaze of the camera, and refuses the “spettacolo” required of him. In the flashback, his muscular, half-naked form fulfills the iconography of masculinity worshipped, and endlessly represented, in Mussolini’s Rome—the implied homoerotic male-to-male gaze being as necessary as any heterosexual interaction, as it is, though perhaps in a slightly more coded way, in American constructions of maleness.

One of the monuments shown is the Roman Colosseum, which will reappear as a backdrop for American GIs in the final scene of the segment. The Colosseum functions in this segment as a multipurpose, even contradictory, reference. It was a symbol much beloved of Italian fascists, the centerpiece of Mussolini’s attempt to confer legitimacy on his claims of empire through a grandiose redesign of the archaeological center of Rome. In this context, its presence invokes both “history” in the traditional sense, serving as a literally colossal reminder of the ways in which we, within our familiar historiographic models, purport to access the “truth” about the past—the Colosseum is the largest intact relic of imperial Rome in the city, and generations of archaeologists, art historians, and historians have examined and explicated it.

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