Exploring Italy Through Cinema • Milan

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Since its origins at the beginning of the last century, Italian cinema has developed a strong link between the representation of its national territory and the definition of its national identity. From the end of World War II onwards, Italy has witnessed a major urban development that has considerably modified the social and cultural life of its citizens — cinema has been able to capture and represent this transformation through a fascinating and complex combination of the real and the imagined.

During these presentations, we will look at some films set in three major Italian cities — Milan, Venice and Naples — to examine how the vision of the urban spaces offered to the viewer represents a reflection of Italy and of its evolving cultural, social and political fabric. Each presentation will be dedicated to an individual city and will explore the related imagery through films beginning with the Fascist period through present times.

Cinematic Milan

Sunday, November 6, 2022 @ 12:00–1:30 p.m.

Live from Rome Via Zoom 

Milan was the scene of the earliest experimentation in filmmaking in Italy. It was the center of experimentation, creativity and the nascent capital of Italy’s film industry. The birth of Cinecittà resulted in the transfer of much film activity from Milan to Rome.

In 1932, director Mario Camerini shot the romantic comedy Gli uomini che mascalzoni! (What Scoundrels Men Are!). It was the first film shot on location in Milan. It tells the love story between a driver, Bruno (Vittorio De Sica), and a shop girl, Mariuccia (Lia Franca), in a modern city undergoing a profound transformation.

During this cinematic tour, we will explore the most important films shot in Milan including the gangster genre of the 1970s that inspired Quentin Tarantino’s films.

Between the 1950s and the 1980s, Milan was the set of many films chronicling the economic boom and immigration from the South. The 1990s, and especially the 2000s, on the contrary, were the years of corruption and crisis but also of the most successful comedies.

Presented by Carolina Ciampaglia

Film scholar Carolina Ciampaglia teaches film studies and is the director of ItaliaIdea in Rome. She received her degree in modern languages and literature from the Università La Sapienza Roma, Laurea in 1984. She has also taught Italian cinema at both Cornell in Rome and DePaul University in Rome.


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