Published On: Sun, Dec 15th, 2019

Italian National Cinema – A Question of Place

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Italian Cinema History – The Use of Children

Sense of Place

Many Italian films have consistently shown an attachment between their main characters and a sense of place. They show characters who truly wish to find a mixture or all of love, career and identity in one important place but who then find that many difficulties arise in accomplishing these ambitions.

Bread and Chocolate

Bread and Chocolate Directed by Franco Brusati in 1973 concerns Nino who is constantly at odds with himself over his sense of identity and place within the world. The film finds him living in Switzerland as a migrant on a six month visa seeking work to support his wife and child who are back in Italy.

All of the situations Nino becomes involved in, such as working with poor Italian immigrants in a chicken coop where they are portrayed as the real chickens, make him want to concede and return home. Whenever he attempts to do this however he encounters singing Italian immigrants on the train back chanting of the old Italy by the sea. This situation revolves throughout the film at various stages and each time Nino (more and more sympathetically comical in his attitude) gets off the train to give Switzerland another chance. Nino is illustrated as being on a quest for peace within place but he struggles to find both in the same location.

Cinema Paradiso

Italian National Cinema - A Question of Place

In Cinema Paradiso directed by Giuseppe Tornatore in 1988 a sense of place is at the heart of the film’s plot involving romance versus career. The issue of place is on the shoulders of the young Toto who has befriended Alfredo the middle aged cinema projectionist in a small mid twentieth century Sicilian town. As the film develops Toto becomes confused as to his purpose in life, he ponders his attachment to the place where he was born. Toto is torn between finding love or artistic success. His feelings towards his girlfriend Elena, his family and Alfredo along with his attachment to the town of his birth confuse his sense of belonging in life.

Life is Beautiful

Life is Beautiful directed by Roberto Benigni in 1998 has the main protagonist Guido simply wanting to open a bookshop in the town of Arezzo and live happily with his wife and son in that place during World War II. However being Jewish he and is son are taken, along with his wife who is not Jewish but volunteers to go, to a concentration camp. The sense of place in the film is the father’s joyous insistence to his son that they will soon leave the camp and return home. The real attachment in the touching film is that which is most important to them both, being reunited with Dora their wife and mother respectively.

These examples of Italian films across three separate decades show how a main character and a sense of place are used in a film’s central narrative and displayed in a mixture of both heartwarming and contrastingly saddening ways.

About the Author

- I am an internet marketing expert with an experience of 8 years.My hobbies are SEO,Content services and reading ebooks.I am founder of SRJ News andTech Preview.

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