Marcia Landy
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The medieval imaginary in Italian films
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This chapter focuses on a select group of films set in Middle Ages, produced in Italy at two moments of dramatic transformation in Italian culture and politics the Fascist era during 1930s and early 1940s and the epoch of the 'Economic Miracle' in the 1960s. It examines how cinema appropriates the past so as to recognise 'the power it holds from its shameful kinship with the makers of history and the tellers of stories, in Jacques Ranciere's words. The chapter explains the films that have chosen probes their kinship with modes of history making, to understand better how these different cinematic inventions shed light on conceptions of medievalism and, further, on the contemporary cultural and political moments of their creators. Cinematic fables of power, such as Condottieri and La corona di ferro, are allegories containing the shards of residual elements and emergent cultural memories of medievalism as legend and folklore.

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