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From the Factory to the Asylum… and Back: A Lacanian Perspective on the Cinematic Representation of Alienation in Elio Petri’s La classe operaia va in paradiso

  • Luca Di GregorioEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the cinematic representation of alienation in Petri’s La classe operaia va in paradiso (1971), one of the first mainstream films in postwar Italian cinema to represent controversial issues such as class conflict, the worker–machine relationship, and the impact of factory work on mental health. This chapter contends that, more effectively than Marxist and Freudian theory, Lacanian theory makes it possible to tackle the twofold dimension of alienation portrayed in Petri’s film, as both a fundamental condition of human subjectivity and a sociohistorical manifestation of capitalism. Drawing from Lacan, it also argues that the political kernel of Petri’s film rests not simply on the representation of the class struggle but rather on conceiving alienation as a possible force of transformation.

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Filmography

  1. Petri, Elio, dir. 1970. Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto. Rome: Euro International Film.Google Scholar
  2. ———, dir. 1971. La classe operaia va in paradiso. Rome: Euro International Film.Google Scholar
  3. ———, dir. 1973. La proprietà non è più un furto. Rome/Paris: Quasars Film Company and Labrador Film.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WinchesterWinchesterUK
  2. 2.University of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

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