Extra-Ordinary Men: White Heterosexual Masculinity and Contemporary Popular Cinema
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Rheingold, Harold. As for what was left out of the book: lots! But it would be important to look at footballers and TV stars. I love Zalone, but I found it too difficult to integrate a discussion of his comic persona into my chapter on comedy, which deals with films about single fathers and co-habiting men.
You are suggesting that contemporary Italian masculinities locate themselves in a specific past, finding their corroborees in specific periods. And you are suggesting that they employ cinema and television to do so whether representation in that period, or of that period.
Fleshing Out Virtual Bodies: White Heterosexual Masculinity in Contemporary Cyberfantasy Cinema
Is this an accurate description of your argument? COR: Yes. I trace certain continuities of representation so, for example, I argue that male melodrama is the dominant mode of Italian cinema, at least since the Second World War , but I also note how much recent cinema has recourse to nostalgia for particular forms of masculinity.
Why those particular periods, in your opinion? COR: I look predominantly at the s, mainly because so much recent Italian cinema has turned to that period. And I argue that not only is current cinema interested in returning to the great site of trauma for Italy — the years of terrorism — but intimately bound up with that is a return to what is felt to be a hegemonic or more authentic type of masculinity. But it is interesting that most of these films about the s are also full of images and metaphors of haunting: the return of dead men, of lost boys, and of dead ideologies is both a promise and a curse.
AOL: Some of the most influential writers on film and history have argued that historical film has nothing to tell us about the period represented, but a lot to say about the period in which it was made. What is being left out? Who is allowed to speak? How would you respond to Bordwell? COR: Well, I love Bordwell, as my students will testify, but we know that he has no interest in gender or ideology.
One of my conclusions which chimes with and is influenced by scholars of American cinema such as Sally Robinson, Hamilton Carroll and Nicola Rehling is that the obsessive return to masculinity in crisis is also a mode of reasserting the centrality of masculinity. And I think it is only when we acknowledge that these narrative positions are gendered, that we can recognise the work these films are trying to do. So, for example, Danielle Hipkins, has made a very powerful argument about the prevalence of the prostitute in post-war Italian cinema and how she functions as a figure onto which Italian national guilt can be displaced.
What are the consequences if masculinity is in perpetual crisis? And why is femininity never allowed to be in crisis? AOL: Film historians and those who study film aesthetics Bordwell is both tend to be critical of the kind of work you do in your book and that I do in my writing.
How sure are you that there is something exceptional or even particular about the Italian case? You ask in the conclusion to the book or at least in the book proposal! How would you demonstrate this relationship, methodologically speaking?