Oral Memories of Cinema-Going in Rural Italy of the 1950s

  • Danielle HipkinsEmail author
  • Daniela Treveri Gennari
  • Catherine O’Rawe
  • Silvia Dibeltulo
  • Sarah Culhane
Part of the Global Cinema book series (GLOBALCINE)


As urbanization gathered pace in 1950s Italy, mass waves of internal migration took a growing number of citizens away from rural life towards the cities. Cinema-going of this period has typically been analysed in the context of its burgeoning urban centres, although in 1951 over 40% of the working population in Italy was still agricultural. In this chapter, we are using data drawn from over 1000 questionnaires gathered across Italy to consider how cinema-going might have functioned differently in rural and urban areas. The line between the definition of rural and urban was blurred by the advent of cinema itself, since it presented the ideal pretext for a journey into the nearest town or city, thereby offering an insight into other possible worlds in more ways than one. Rural respondents are accordingly often self-conscious about their ‘rural’ status, particularly in the geographically outlying areas of Italy. These respondents emphasize the importance of cinema as an educational source, both constructing a sense of national identity and revealing possible alternative worlds. We suggest that distinctive models of spectatorship emerged in this context, particularly in relation to stars, to whom rural audiences generally attribute less importance, as models towards which they aspire, rather than with whom they can identify.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danielle Hipkins
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniela Treveri Gennari
    • 2
  • Catherine O’Rawe
    • 3
  • Silvia Dibeltulo
    • 2
  • Sarah Culhane
    • 4
  1. 1.University of ExeterExeterUK
  2. 2.Oxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK
  3. 3.University of BristolBristolUK
  4. 4.Maynooth UniversityKildareIreland

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