In the years surrounding WWI, the Italian film industry was one of the major powers in world cinema. This so-called “golden age of Italian silent film” was reflected in a parallel proliferation of print media, with more than one hundred periodicals devoted to film in Italy by 1915. This research seminar examines In Penombra, one of the most beautiful and significant film journals of the period. Particular emphasis will be given to divismo—- the celebrity culture/star system that accompanies the rise of cinema in Italy in association with theatre, literature, fashion, photography and film.
John P. Welle (Notre Dame) is Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, and Concurrent Professor of Film, Television and Theatre at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of The Poetry of Andrea Zanzotto and the editor of “Film and Literature,” Annali d’Italianistica (1988). His translation and edition of Peasants Wake for Fellini’s ‘Casanova’ and Other Poems by Andrea Zanzotto (with Ruth Feldman) was awarded the Raiziss-de Palchi Book Prize from the Academy of American Poets. His research on early Italian cinema appears in journals and edited volumes including Bianco e Nero, Cinema & Cinema, Film History, Early Cinema and the “National, Incontri con il cinema italiano, A nuova luce: Cinema muto italiano, The Printed Media in Fin-de-Siècle Italy and the forthcoming, Journal of Italian Cinema & Media Studies, The Italian Cinema Book and Italian Silent Cinema: A Reader. He is currently completing a book on early Italian cinema, print media and celebrity culture.
Originally published at italianstudies.nd.edu.