La storia di un altro: adaptations and appropriations in the works of Vittorio De Sica and Cesare Zavattini Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Harper, Matthew Lee
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Romance Studies
  • Cesare Zavattini and Vittorio De Sica played an important role in Italian postwar cinema. Their collaborations were some of the most renowned films of the Neorealist movement and have influenced generations of directors. Zavattini was known as the most vocal proponent of neorealist cinema and through his advocacy for the movement he produced a significant body of theoretical and critical work. The wealth of his cinematic theories is is virtually unknown to American and English scholars and is often reduced to a single article translated into English; Some Ideas on the Cinema. Though the chosen article is one of his most important essays, and it is often published in film theory anthologies, it is unfortunate that the depth of Zavattini's theories, and it has led some critics to interpret his approach to cinema as anti-literary. The present study seeks to evaluate the relationship of Zavattini's and De Sica's cinematic collaborations with literature. Many of their most celebrated films (I bambini ci guardano, Ladri di biciclette, Miracolo a Milano, L'oro di Napoli, La ciociara) were literary adaptations. Of the twenty-three films they made together, eight were based on literary sources. Furthermore, the duo were very involved in the promotion of episode films, which have a structural link to literary culture in that they are essentially cinematic versions of short story collections and frame tales, such as Boccaccio's Decameron. Between the eight adaptations and the six episode films the two collaborated on, a significant portion of their oeuvre proves to have significant ties (either direct, or indirect) to literary structures and works. Particular emphasis to several, but not all, of their literary adaptations to film will be given, with a focus on works produced during the duo's most productive phase: between the early Forties and the mid Fifties. The present study not only provides the reader with much needed analysis of some of their lesser known works but also offers a means of interpreting significant films in the collaborative career of two of Italy's most important filmmakers.
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  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Romance Languages (Italian)."
  • Illiano, Antonio
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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