The Gaze and the Labyrinth: The Cinema of Liliana Cavani

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Princeton University Press, Jan 30, 2000 - 308 pages
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In this, the first comprehensive book on Liliana Cavani, Gaetana Marrone redraws the map of postwar Italian cinema to make room for this extraordinary filmmaker, whose representations of transgressive eroticism, spiritual questing, and psychological extremes test the limits of the medium, pushing it into uncharted areas of discovery. Cavani's film The Night Porter (1974) created a sensation in the United States and Europe. But in many ways her critically renowned endeavors--which also include Francesco di Assisi, Galileo, I cannibali, Beyond Good and Evil, The Berlin Affair, and several operas and documentaries--remain enigmatic to audiences. Here Marrone presents Cavani's work as a cinema of ideas, showing how it takes pleasure in the telling of a story and ultimately revolts against all binding ideological and commercial codes.


The author explores the rich visual language in which Cavani expresses thought, and the cultural icons that constitute her style and images. This approach affords powerful insights into the intricate interlacing of narrated events. We also come to understand the importance assigned to the gaze in the genesis of desire and the acquisition of knowledge. The films come to life in this book as the classical tragedies Cavani intended, where rebels and madmen experience conflict between historical and spiritual reality, the present and the past. Offering intertextual analyses within such fields as psychology, history, and cultural studies, along with production information gleaned from Cavani's personal archives, Marrone boldly advances our understanding of an intriguing, important body of cinematic work.

 

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Contents

Introduction
3
THE LABYRINTH COGNITION AND TRAGIC IMAGINATION
15
Francesco di Assisi The Medieval Chronicle and the Establishing of Physical Reality
17
Realism against Illusion The Ceremonial Divestiture of Power in Galileo
37
Metaphors of Revolt The Dialogic Silence in I cannibali
57
THE TRANSGRESSIVE GAZE STYLE AS TENSION
79
Toward a Negative Mythopoeia Spectacle Memory and Representation in The Night Porter
81
Staging the Gaze Beyond Good and Evil
116
METAPHORS OF VISION
159
The Architectonics of Form Francesco and Milarepa
161
The Essential Solitude A Conclusion
188
Notes
195
Filmography
251
Bibliography
259
Index
305
Copyright

Theatricality and Reflexivity in The Berlin Affair
140

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About the author (2000)

Gaetana Marrone is Associate Professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Princeton University. She is the author of La drammatica di Ugo Betti: Tematiche e archetipi, which won the American Association of Italian Studies Triennial Best Book Award in 1990, and the editor of New Landscapes in Contemporary Italian Cinema, Annali d'Italianistica 17 (1998). Marrone has also produced two award-winning films, Woman in the Wind, starring Colleen Dewhurst, and Princeton: Images of a University.

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