Colloquium | Claudia Consolati

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - 12:00pm

Claudia Consolati

Nuns, Children, and Holy Fools: Women in the Italian Cinema of the 2000s

While my dissertation looks at the emergence of female saintly mad characters in Italian films made between 1948 and 1968, the year of Pier Paolo Pasolini's Teorema, this talk examines what happens after 1968. In it, I will show how this character type goes dormant for about three decades only to re-surface in the 21st century. What is the link between the first and the second outburst of female divine folly in Italian cinema? Which forms does the contemporary resurgence of female saintly madness take? And, most importantly, what is its significance? I will attempt to answer these questions by creating a taxonomy of 21st century women holy fools, by drawing comparisons between the immediate postwar and the contemporary eras, and by looking at specific textual examples, ranging from Paolo Sorrentino's Oscar-winning blockbuster The Great Beauty (2013) to little known independent films by women filmmakers, such as Roberta Torre's Lost Kisses (2010) and Alice Rohrwacher's Heavenly Body (2011). In particular, I will pay attention to specific shots that embody the mystical nature of these films' foolish protagonists, and draw tentative conclusions on the type of spirituality that they embody.

Claudia Consolati is putting the final touches on her dissertation, Sacred Madness: Women, Religion, and Folly in Postwar Italian Cinema, which she will defend in the Summer 2014. In it, she identifies a recurrent character type in postwar Italian cinema--the female holy fool--and delineates its phenomenological grammar in films by Rossellini, Fellini, and Pasolini. Sacred Madness constitutes a summa of Claudia's interests, which span from Italian to Film to Gender Studies, with particular attention to the intersections between mysticism and both feminism and film. She has published and has forthcoming articles and chapters on Italian cinema and contemporary Italian literature. Beyond her dissertation and ensuing book project, Claudia is currently looking at the concept of mystical cinematography in Italian and American film, and in the representation of violence against women in Italian cinema.

Cinema Studies Program
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