Friday, October 02, 2009

Jon Jost's intro to Italy

Filmmaker Jon Jost has a long blog post, well illustrated, about the political & cultural history of Italy and also Italian cinema. From Jost's blog:

"Bombarded from left and right, Italy passed through the 70’s and 80’s in a kind of tormented state, a time riddled with mysterious deaths, oscillating politics and an economy, like much of the rest of the world, in an upward rush of frantic consumerism. Its premiers – Andreotti, 7 times premier from the 1970’s to 90’s and well-known for Mafia connections, Fanfani, Craxi – were all indicted, tried, and most eluded conviction through technicalities – in the ever-glacial and often corrupted judicial system of Italy the usual exemption would be that the statute of limitations had expired, and hence, whatever the mountains of evidence and proof, one was absolved. The current head of state, Silvio Berlusconi follows in this tradition, a multiple indictee, now wallowing in sex scandals wherein his second younger wife left him, accusing him of having a taste for even younger morsels, one of whom is all of 17."

And, on the cinematic front:

"Lurking in the lush palette which he used were the signals of a nostalgia for an Italy for which he sensed a clear loss. And despite the logic articulated above, Antonioni in his films demonstrated his own incapacity to adapt. So much so that riding his fame he went abroad, to England for Blow Up, and America for Zabriskie Point – both misfired aesthetically, the latter terribly so. His disorientation in the face of the new world reflected closely that of an Italy which could not face its future or its present."

Read & see the rest at Jost's blog.



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