Schooling in Modernity: The Politics of Sponsored Films in Postwar Italy

By Real, Brian | Canadian Journal of Film Studies, Spring 2015 | Go to article overview

Schooling in Modernity: The Politics of Sponsored Films in Postwar Italy


Real, Brian, Canadian Journal of Film Studies


SCHOOLING IN MODERNITY: THE POLITICS OF SPONSORED FILMS IN POSTWAR ITALY By Paola Bonifazio Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014, 304 pp

REVIEWED BY BRIAN REAL

Paola Bonifazio's Schooling in Modernity: The Politics of Sponsored Films in Postwar Italy presents a previously neglected but important perspective on the history of post-World War II Italian cinema. Bonifazio analyzes a portion of the thousands of documentary and informational films made by governments, nonprofits, and corporations from 1948 through the end of the 1950s, demonstrating that various forces had an interest in guiding the structural, social, and political reconstruction of Italy. Common trends emerge throughout many of these films, but the end result was not a unified, hegemonic force that attempted to persuade Italians to adapt to a single viewpoint. Instead, Bonifazio adeptly analyzes differences of opinion between the leaders of various organizations who attempted to influence the Italian people. Additionally, the works discussed in Schooling in Modernity do not remain independent of well-known, contemporary trends in Italian cinema. Rather, the author demonstrates that many government, industrial, and educational films were in dialogue with neorealism, borrowing stylistically from these better known works while often arguing against their sociopolitical messages.

The book's strength lies in Bonifazio's skillful analysis of a representative sample of these works. Each of the six chapters begins with a basic overview, before flowing into brief case studies of about a half-dozen films. Three of these chapters focus on major national issues. The first chapter discusses films that dealt with unemployment issues, while the third and fourth chapters are respectively on the national housing crisis and the economic division between the north and south. These chapters include analyses of these themes across films produced by the Italian and American governments, nonprofits, and neorealist directors. Meanwhile, the second, fifth, and sixth chapters focus specifically on corporateproduced works, educational films, and newsreels, respectively, while occasionally connecting works in these genres to those discussed in other chapters. The end result is discussions on how Italian business, education, and the media each interacted with and shaped post-Fascist society. Additionally, the main text is followed by a filmography detailing films made by the organizations discussed throughout the book, opening the door to further research by other scholars.

In her introduction, Bonifazio explains the scope of her work and provides a logical reason for limiting the time frame of her study. Italian society went through a period of reinvention after the fall of Fascism, with numerous forces attempting to influence the direction of this change. The Americans had a vested interest in Italy not falling to communist influence and the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA)-the agency set up to administer the Marshall Plan-oversaw persuasion efforts on this front. The Italian government largely cooperated with American messaging, but the Christian Democrat majority hoped to justify its continued control of the Italian government by showing that the country's progress reached beyond that spurred by outside funding and other support. Both the ECA and the Italian government depended on the growth of domestic industry to provide ongoing stability, with major businesses often conforming to governmental messages, but sometimes positing their own ideas on the proper direction for Italian society. And, as major social problems emerged or were brought to light at the end of the war, organizations such as the National Union for the Fight against Illiteracy and the Catholic Center for Cinematography moved to bring attention to such issues.

Bonifazio details how all of these sponsoring organizations made use of film to convey their messages as theatres throughout the nation allowed these materials to be shown before features and outdoor exhibitors in towns without cinemas-mainly in the south of the country-gladly filled their programs with sponsored films that were provided at little or no cost. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Schooling in Modernity: The Politics of Sponsored Films in Postwar Italy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.