Vital Crises in Italian Cinema: Iconography, Stylistics, Politics


Italian films of the post-World War II period showed an extraordinary power and originality that sets them apart from others in the history of Italian cinema. In this book, P. Adams Sitney combines new interpretations of many of these films with original research into the intellectual milieu in which they were made in order to explain them as reflections of Italian national life during moments of vital self-definition. The films Sitney analyzes were made during the years 1945-1950 and 1958-1963. Taking six films from the first period and nine from the second, he focuses on three interrelated aspects: the ways in which they refer, directly or obliquely, to the social and political issues of their times; their relationships to contemporary currents in Italian literature; and their elaborations of a traditional iconography to which they actively contribute. Rossellini, Visconti, De Sica, Zavattini, Antonioni, Pasolini, Olmi, and Rosi are among the directors whose work he discusses. The films include Paisa, La terra trema, La dolce vita, and Il deserto rosso.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Austin, TX
Publication year:
  • 1995


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