© 2017

Homosexuality and Italian Cinema

From the Fall of Fascism to the Years of Lead


  • The first book-length study devoted entirely to the topic of homosexuality in Italian post-war cinema.

  • Explores over 600 films and includes extensive archival research on hundreds of unpublished documents, magazines and newspapers

  • Analyses connections between homosexuality, cinema and Italian society.


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Mauro Giori
    Pages 1-9
  3. Mauro Giori
    Pages 11-45
  4. Mauro Giori
    Pages 47-73
  5. Mauro Giori
    Pages 75-96
  6. Mauro Giori
    Pages 97-142
  7. Mauro Giori
    Pages 143-173
  8. Mauro Giori
    Pages 175-190
  9. Mauro Giori
    Pages 191-204
  10. Mauro Giori
    Pages 205-230
  11. Mauro Giori
    Pages 231-246
  12. Mauro Giori
    Pages 247-252
  13. Back Matter
    Pages 253-272

About this book


This book is the first to establish the relevance of same-sex desires, pleasures and anxieties in the cinema of post-war Italy. It explores cinematic representations of homosexuality and their significance in a wider cultural struggle in Italy involving society, cinema, and sexuality between the 1940s and 1970s. Besides tracing the evolution of representations through both art and popular films, this book also analyses connections with consumer culture, film criticism and politics. Giori uncovers how complicated negotiations between challenges to and valorization of dominant forms of knowledge of homosexuality shaped representations and argues that they were not always the outcome of hatred but also sought to convey unmentionable pleasures and complicities. Through archival research and a survey of more than 600 films, the author enriches our understanding of thirty years of Italian film and cultural history.


Masculinity Lesbianism Cinecittà Body Sex Gender

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of MilanMilanItaly

About the authors

Mauro Giori is Assistant Professor at Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy. His most recent books include Scandalo e banalità (2012) and Nell’ombra di Hitchcock (2015).

Bibliographic information


“The book sounds like it will adopt a historicist approach that reads Italian films in terms of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ images of homosexuality. … One of the strengths of this highly readable, often witty book is precisely the author’s flexibility of approach. … Giori’s book is a valuable contribution to a growing body of work in Queer Italian Studies.” (John Champagne, gender / sexuality / Italy, Vol. 6, 2019)“In this wonderfully researched, lucidly organised book, Mauro Giori does not so much take us beyond the internationally renowned gay cinema of Visconti and Pasolini as place this in the extraordinarily rich, elusive and thrilling cinema of its time. His book is more than a fascinating overview of homosexuality in Italian cinema in a period exciting equally for the richness of Italian cinema and the emergence of gay identities. It is also a new kind of gay film history, weaving together film texts with production and censorship, gossip and scandal, festivals, criticism and cinemagoing, all beautifully contextualised in relation to the politics and culture of the times. This is a model of historical research and a vibrant account of an astonishing moment in queer culture.” (Richard Dyer, Professor of Film Studies, King’s College London, UK)