(Post)national Italian cinema in the era of globalization (1990--2007)

Date of Completion

January 2008






During the 1990s, the chain of events that began with the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) led to the creation of new European geopolitical realities. For the first time since WWII, European states were forced to re-examine the very concept of national identity within a European supra-national space. European cinema since 1989 testifies to the complexities of this socio-political and cultural context and is marked by an ever growing process of investigation, problematization, and negotiation of national identities and communities. Against a post-Cold War European landscape that is becoming irremediably post-national, Italian films have started to go beyond the previously privileged space of the nation in order to explore the trans-national sites where cultures intertwine and crisscross. In this context, the concept of an Italian post-national cinema indicates the crisis of the Italian national (and European) spaces, whereas the notion of trans-national refers to the cultural and behavioral changes occurring to individuals who occupy post-national spaces. Chapter one is devoted to the analysis of those films whose appearance seems to follow the trend of claustrophilia which emerged in the previous years, but that at a closer look reveal a stasis that is only relatively motionless. Chapter two illustrates how sometimes a centrifugal movement can successfully force the boundaries of an enclosed space. Chapter three focuses on the exploration of the most extreme degree of openness to the Other and the Elsewhere, an openness that paves the way for a movement that allows the protagonists to escape. Chapter four examines films in which prevails the idea of the backward movement to the point of origin. In so doing, the directors of the films examined in this section demonstrate the effectiveness and the value of that portion of the journey which preceded the return, when the travelers were trying to force the boundaries of the enclosed space surrounding them. In fact, it is only by removing themselves from their own milieu that they can come back to their native community as new individuals, more aware and better equipped to face the future. ^