ITA341H1 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Dario Argento, Peter Wollen, Isidor Gunsberg

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ITA341 MIDTERM QUESTIONS
1. According to Maggie Gu
̈nsberg, the Italian film industry in the postwar era was
influenced by a variety of factors. Please list the 9 highlighted by the scholar.
1. The disruptive effects on the industry of two world wars, including German and
then American occupation
2. Fascist financial and strategic underpinning of the industry
3. Postwar state protectionism in the form of tax rebates and screen quotas aimed
at ensuring a specific proportion of Italian films on the domestic cinema circuit,
followed by inducements encouraging US investment in the Italian film industry
4. State and Church censorship, a combination further facilitated from 1948 by the
coming to power of the Democrazia Cristiana (Christian Democrats) as ruling
party of the new Republic
5. The economic boom of 195863 and the consequent increase in South to North
migration, both entailing significant cultural shifts in value-systems and traditions
6. An almost constant diet of US (as opposed to Italian national) films, apart from
during the Second World War
7. The advent of television in 1954 and the consequent fall in cinema audiences as
its increasingly widespread use affected the distribution and exhibition, and so
also the production, of film
8. The effects on production of a recognition on the part of the industry of changing
audience composition, expectations, and reception strategies
9. The withdrawal of US investment in the 1970s
2. According to Christopher Wagstaff (as quoted by Maggie Gu
̈nsberg), in 1950
Italy shifted from being an exporter of Art Films to an exporter of popular Genre
Films. What are the consequences of this shift?
-Italy gradually replaced UK as largest European market
-maximizing domestic market: balance between imported foreign films and exported
Italian films improved Italy’s favour directly in line with production and co-production of
popular genre films
-re-opening of export market for Italian productions (*export success-second peplum
cycle)
-expansion and massification of the Italian cinema market
3. In her chapter on Alina Marazzi’s films, Fabiana Cecchini summarized Marco
Bertozzi’s categories of recent Italian documentaries. Please list the three
categories and offer a brief description of their characteristics.
1. The documentary-portrait: the result of a meeting with one or more archetypal
characters.
2. The historical and social analysis documentary: the director adopts the “story
as exemplum” as the narrative principle
3. The documentary-diary: the author’s intention is to focus on an
autobiographical experience, a trip, a family memoir or a personal reading of the
world around him/her.
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4. In her chapter on Alina Marazzi’s films, Fabiana Cecchini summarizes Gianni
Canova’s “cartography” of (problematically-termed) new-new Italian cinema.
Please list the five categories and offer a brief description of their characteristics.
1. “Neo-autarchici”: distinguished by the fact that they make their movies on a low
budget or with no budget thanks to exploitation of all the opportunities offered by
digital technology
2. “Neo-dark”: includes directors who revisit gothic stories, making horror or noir
films that pointedly differ from the films made by masters like Dario Argento.
3. “Post-fordisti”: focuses on themes concerning the global economy, jobs, and
financial struggles of today’s Italy
4. “Neo-glocal: narrates the effects of globalization starting from a description of
small local places to then extend to an analysis of more universal environments.
5. “Post-melo”: recounts tales of love and unattainable desire in order to
investigate human relationships
5. In her chapter on Alina Marazzis films, Fabiana Cecchini outlines the feminist
concepts of pratica del partire da se
́ (beginning with oneself) (Chiara Zamboni)
and “affidamento (entrustment)” (Mirna Cicioni). Please offer a definition for each
of these concepts.
Beginning with oneself, Zamboni: the necessity to reconstruct one’s past and
understand the feelings and contradictions we deal with ordinarily.
Entrustment, Cicioni: recognition of, and reliance on, differences in competence
between women.
6. In her chapter on Alina Marazzi’s films, Fabiana Cecchini utilizes Cristina
Gamberi’s definition of “Docu-diary”. Please summarize it here.
The “docu-diary approach involves the exploitation of found footage, home videos, and
archival material to create “a product that is kaleidoscopic in variety of genres and
sources utilized, where the filmed fragments are folded and forced by the tireless work of
editing into attractions and distractions until creating a new narration and new meaning”.
7. In her article on Cecilia Mangini, Missero argues that the feminist director can
be interpreted as the ideal embodiment of a Gramscian “Organic Intellectual”.
Please explain the difference between a “traditional intellectual” and an “organic
intellectual” according to Antonio Gramsci.
Organic Intellectual - who is actively involved in contemporary debates on the
ideological role of culture. An organic intellectual resumes a clear sense of self-
awareness for an individual within her or his social context, and requires
strategies of resistance that start with the observation of everyday dynamics of
power. By means of her or his cultural function, the “organic intellectual”
mobilizes the subaltern classes and becomes a disruptive element in the
hegemonic social structure.
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Traditional Intellectual -Traditional intellectuals are those who do regard
themselves as autonomous and independent of the dominant social group and
are regarded as such by the population at large. They seem autonomous and
independent. They give themselves an aura of historical continuity despite all the
social upheavals that they might go through. The clergy are an example of that
as are the men of letters, the philosophers and professors. These are what we
tend to think of when we think of intellectuals. Although they like to think of
themselves as independent of ruling groups, this is usually a myth and an
illusion. They are essentially conservative allied to and assisting the ruling group
in society.
8. Missero argues that Essere Donne is “a compelling case of a counter-cinema
that subverts the conventional structure of the political movie and develops an
autonomous aesthetic discourse in its fissures that is particularly aimed at
women.” Please list the characteristics of Counter-Cinema outlined by Peter
Wollen (described in the lecture on Mangini)
1) Narrative Intransitivity
2) Estrangement
3) Foregrounding
4) Multiple Diegesis
5) Aperture
6) Unpleasure
7) Reality
Descriptions of items:
1) Narrative intransitivity-ie the narration does not flow seamlessly
2) Estrangement-make something estranged to the viewer-distance, disrupt
identifications eg in Essere donne the disjuncture between sound and image
3) Foregrounding ie the opposite of transparency; foregrounds junctures and transitions
in the film, shows the constructedness of the film
4) Multiple diageses-ie multiple worlds addressed or represented in the film-usually only
one, or in satire or parody 2 or more
5) Aperture-ie narrative openness as opposed to closureleaves the film events open to
interpretation rather than supplying a single closed one
6) Unpleasure-resists the familiar pleasure of film-watching, eg identification with
characters
7) Reality-focuses on issues pertaining to reality in documentary and also in fictional
films that expose societal mystifications putting the emphasis on reality
9. According to Luciano and Scarparo, Italian women directors suffer a “double
marginality.”
Please explain what they mean.
Women filmmakers often embody degrees of subordination and marginality within the
industry. In addition, when the subject matter of their films focuses on women, many
spectators and critics consider their films marginal, accusing them of lacking universal
appeal.
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