April 23, 2021
"Reproductive Labor of Love: On Ettore Scola’s A Special Day"
Alongside dominant figures like the worker and the youth, the so-called long ’68 sees the emergence of another political subject, borne out of intense theoretical debates and political militancy within the socialist feminist milieu: the housewife. In the Italian cinema of the period, the housewife is indeed everywhere, and yet very rarely stands out, relegated as she is to ancillary roles that put her deep into the backdrop of any given scene. Ettore Scola’s neo-Neorealist melodrama A Special Day (1977) constitutes a remarkable exception. In the film, set in 1938, the housewife traces a trajectory of political subjectivation through the reappropriation of time against the gendered division of labor imposed by capital and enforced by fascism. Combining a close reading of the film with a reflection on the theorizations of the Wages for Housework movement of the Seventies, the talk will explore the emancipatory potential of the figure of the housewife, as well as the structural constraints that define the refusal of her own condition of oppression and exploitation.
Click HERE to register for the event.
The 2020–2021 Award Winner
The Program in Cinema and Media Studies is happy to announce the winner of the inaugural, 2020–21 Jonathan Auerbach Cinema and Media Studies Research Award:
Dr. Mauro Resmini, assistant professor of Cinema and Media Studies and Italian at the University of Maryland, College Park, will use the award to complete his book project entitled Figures of the Impasse: Italian Political Cinema and the Long ’68.
Dr. Resmini's book, which will be published by the University of Minnesota Press, aims to redefine the category of “political cinema” by questioning our long-standing conceptions about the relation between cinema and politics. The book, which takes Italian cinema as its case study, explores the ways in which films have re-imagined the link between popular art and radical politics in Italy in the so-called long ’68, a period of intense political and cultural struggles that spans from the mid-Sixties to the early Eighties.
The originality of the project stems from the fact that it sets out from the following hypothesis: What if, instead of signaling a connection between cinema and politics, ‘political cinema’ actually named the lack of a relation between these two domains – an impasse? What if, in other words, the link between cinema and politics could never be decided in advance, but had to be reinvented anew with each individual political film? According to Dr. Resmini, the films, in order to overcome the impasse and think politics, invent figures; and his book offers a remarkable study of the crucial figures of Italian political cinema: the worker, the youth, the saint, the housewife, the specter, and the martyr. The various figural representations offered by the films conjure a multi-faceted, complex portrayal of Italian society and of the currents of antagonism and repression that constituted the socio-political fabric of the country during the long '68.
Through a detailed analysis of films by Elio Petri, Francesco Rosi, Lina Wertmüller, Ettore Scola, Liliana Cavani, Bernardo Bertolucci, Marco Bellocchio, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Marco Ferreri, and others, Figures of the Impasse provides a critical account of Italian political cinema with all its historical and geographical specificity, while it at the same time proposes a new figural paradigm that allows us to rethink the concept of political cinema as such, beyond the confines of any particular national context.
As this year's recipient of the Award, Dr. Resmini will present from his work in Figures of the Impasse: Italian Political Cinema and the Long ’68 in Spring 2021.
About the Award
The Program in Cinema and Media Studies established the Jonathan Auerbach Cinema and Media Studies Research Award during the 2019–2020 academic year with the purpose of advancing the research and writing projects of the Cinema and Media Studies faculty at the University of Maryland, College Park. The Award is named in honor of Jonathan Auerbach, Professor Emeritus of English and Film Studies, and one of the founding members of the Program in Cinema and Media Studies (formerly Program in Film Studies).
The Award, which is given out annually, assists the work of Cinema and Media Studies faculty by providing funds for a semester-long course release, which affords the Award recipient free time for research and writing. If you would like to support the Jonathan Auerbach Cinema and Media Research Award or our other efforts to foster excellent teaching and research in the Program in Cinema and Media Studies, please consider donating to the Program's Cinema and Media Studies Fund.