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Ossessione

  • Derek Duncan
Chapter

Abstract

When Luchino Visconti’s first film, Ossessione, was released in the spring of 1943, Mussolini had been Italy’s head of state for twenty years and the country had been at war for three. In the summer of that year Mussolini’s fascist government would be overthrown and the country torn apart by civil war. In retrospect, it is perhaps surprising that at this point Italy still had a thriving film industry. It is estimated that in 1942 no less than 117 feature films were produced and many had been made with government support. Mussolini’s government had in fact promoted the Italian film industry throughout the 1930s in a variety of ways (Wagstaff, 160–74). Legislation was introduced that offered subsidies to the most successful film-makers, the network of film distribution was re-organised to favour Italian products, and restrictions were placed on the importing of films from the United States. Other initiatives such as the setting up of the Venice Film Festival in 1934, the creation of a film school, and the building of Cinecittà, the studio facility near Rome intended to emulate Hollywood, demonstrate the commitment of the fascist regime to the industry. Overall, these measures must be judged successful in significantly increasing the number of films produced in the course of the following decade. Although fascism operated a censorship policy the regime seems to have been more concerned with developing a profitable industry than with regulating the content of specific films. In general terms, this fitted in with the fascist economic policy of ‘autarchia’, or self-sufficiency, which proved disastrous in some areas of the economy but seems to have given the film industry a substantial and necessary boost.

Keywords

Film Industry Film Critic American Cinema Muscular Body Fascist Regime 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

  1. De Grazia, Victoria 1992: How Fascism Ruled Women. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  2. Gentile, Emilio 1996: The Sacralization of Politics in Fascist Italy. Translated by Keith Botsford. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Hay, James 1987: Popular Film Culture in Italy: The Passing of the Rex. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Landy, Marcia 1986: Fascism in Film: The Italian Commercial Cinema, 1931–1943. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Wagstaff, Christopher 1984: ‘The Italian Film Industry during the Fascist Regime’. In The Italianist, 4, 160–74.Google Scholar

Suggestions for Further Reading

  1. Bacon, Henry 1998: Visconti: Explorations of Vision and Decay. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Hay, James 1987: Popular Film Culture in Italy: The Passing of the Rex. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Landy, Marcia 1986: Fascism in Film: The Italian Commercial Cinema, 1931–1943. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Nowell Smith, Geoffrey 1967: Luchino Visconti. London: Secker and Warburg.Google Scholar
  5. Overby, David (ed.) 1978: Springtime in Italy: A Reader on Neo-Realism. London: Talisman.Google Scholar
  6. Sorlin, Pierre 1996: Italian National Cinema, 1896–1996. London and New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Tonetti, Claretta 1987: Luchino Visconti. London: Columbus Books.Google Scholar
  8. Wagstaff, Christopher 1984: ‘The Italian Film Industry during the Fascist Regime’. In The Italianist, 4, 160–74.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Derek Duncan 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Derek Duncan

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