who most deserves consideration in the generally depressing panorama of Italian cinema of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Born in 1945, Amelio began his career working for RAI television in the 1970s. As a feature film director he came to public attention with Colpire al cuore ('To strike at the heart', 1982), one of the few and one of the best Italian films on the theme of terrorism. Porte aperte ('Open doors', 1990) dealt with the problems of justice in Sicily, but it was with Il ladro di bambini ('Child snatcher', 1992) that Amelio managed to adjust his refined and almost aristocratic idea of cinema to the needs of an emotional and painful story poised between sentiment and social concern and thereby to score a significant popular success.
At the end of 1992, at the instigation of the Turin International Youth Festival of Cinema, a survey of critics, journalists, and scholars was set up to identify 'five young directors for the year 2000'. Of the five winners to emerge, two -- Bruno Bigoni and Silvio Soldini -- live and work in Milan; a third, Daniel Segre, is based in Turin; and a fourth, the highly rated young theatre director Mario Martone whose first film was Morte di un matematico napoletano ('Death of a Neapolitan mathematician', 1992), works in Naples. Only the Venetian Carlo Mazzacurati, who has directed three films, lives in Rome, the traditional home of the greater part of the film world. It may be that the rebirth of Italian cinema will come from precisely such a shift away from Rome and towards the decentralized variety with which it began.
Bondanella, Peter ( 1990), Italian Cinema: from neorealism to the present.
Brunetta, Gian Piero ( 1982), Storia del cinema italiano. Vol 11. Dal 1945 agli anni ottanta.
---- ( 1991), Cent'anni di cinema italiano.
Faldini, Franca, and Fofi, Goffredo ( 1981), L'avventurosa storia del cinema italiano raccontato dai suoi protagonisti, 1960-1969.
---- ( 1984), Il cinema italiano di oggi, 1970-1984: raccontato dai suoi protagonisti.
Just as the Spanish Civil War of 1936-9 has frequently been called a rehearsal for the Second World War, so Spain's surprisingly rapid transition from Francoism to democracy can be seen as prefiguring the sudden collapse of the Cold War paradigm which followed in 1945. Spanish cinema played an important role in figuring Spain's move to democracy, not only after Franco's death in 1975, but in the years preceding it. From the 1950s onwards a hermetically sealed Spain began to be opened to foreign influence and a new Spanish cinema emerged on the world scene.
According to historian Stanley Payne ( 1987-8), Spain underwent a three-stage process of defascistization, which began when Franco realized that Hitler and Mussolini would lose the Second World War; was accelerated at the height of the Cold War ( 1945-57) when Spain began moving toward the new European democracies whose resurgence was partially financed by the US Marshall Plan; and was formalized in the 1960s through a policy of aperturispio ('opening up') that was actively promoted by Franco's new Minister of Information and Tourism, Manuel Fraga Iribarne. This drive toward liberalization contained a double irony. First, despite its overtures to ibreign investors, the Francoist regime continued to impose a monolithic culture at home. This contradiction provided a focal point for film-makers who wanted to create a cinema of opposition that could project a different image of Spain both at home and abroad. Yet equally ironically, these film-makers helped accomplish Franco's goals, especially when their films won prestigious awards at international festivals, demonstrating that a modernized Spain was now capable of generating (and tolerating) an articulate oppositional culture.
These contradictions were dramatized in Bienvenido, Mr Marshall! ('Welcome, Mr Marshall!', 1952), which was Spain's official entry at the Cannes Film Festival. This clever satire (co-written by Luis Berlanga and Juan Antonio Bardem) shows inhabitants of a small Castilian village competing with other Spaniards for their share of the Marshall Plan by dressing up as gypsies and matadors, complete with fake movie sets. This illusion evokes the espatiolada, a popular genre that promoted regional images of an exotic Andalusia as a cultural stereotype for all of Spain. The film exposes the dual address of every so-called 'national' cinema-a fictional unity imposed at home at the cost of cultural and regional difference in order to be successfully promoted abroad as a distinctive 'national' commodity. The villagers do have 'real' needs, the kind that were then being depicted in Italian neorealist films; yet they turn to Hollywood fantasies which get them only deeper in debt. In a series of humorous dreams, we see how they refigure their needs through foreign movie images they have internalized. The mayor dreams he is a sheriff in a saloon doing what cowboys