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Vito Zagarrio

The one-shot sequence – the articulation of an entire scene through a single, unbroken long take – is one of the cinema’s most important rhetorical devices and has therefore been much used and widely theorised over the years. This article provides a brief overview of these theories and of the multiple ways in which the one-shot sequence has been used both in world cinema (in general) and Italian cinema (in particular) in order to contextualise its use by one of Italian cinema’s best-known and most significant practitioners, Paolo Sorrentino. Through close analyses of one-shot sequences in Sorrentino’s films L’uomo in più/One Man Up, Le conseguenze dell’amore/The Consequences of Love, This Is the Place and Il divo – La vita spettacoloare di Giulio Andreotti – the article argues that Sorrentino’s predilection for the device is best explained by the wide variety of functions that it serves (as a mark of directorial bravura and auteur status; as a self-reflexive device and meditation on the cinematic gaze; as a political tool; and as a means of generating emotion). While rooted in history, Sorrentino’s use of the one-shot sequence thus transcends its position within Italian film history and discourse.

Film Studies