Omosessualità e cinema italiano. Dalla caduta del fascismo agli anni di piombo

UTET, Torino 2019, pp. XXI, 318, 300 ill. b/n (ed. or., Homosexuality and Italian Cinema: From the Fall of Fascism to the Years of Lead, Palgrave, London 2017).


This is the Italian edition, revised, corrected and augmented, of Homosexuality and Italian Cinema: From the Fall of Fascism to the Years of Lead. This book is the first to establish the relevance of same-sex desires, pleasures and anxieties in the cinema of post-war Italy. It explores cinematic representations of homosexuality and their significance in a wider cultural struggle in Italy involving society, cinema, and sexuality between the 1940s and 1970s. Besides tracing the evolution of representations through both art and popular films, this book also analyses connections with consumer culture, film criticism and politics. It uncovers how complicated negotiations between challenges to and valorization of dominant forms of knowledge of homosexuality shaped representations and argues that they were not always the outcome of hatred but also sought to convey unmentionable pleasures and complicities. Through archival research and a survey of more than 600 films, the author enriches our understanding of thirty years of Italian film and cultural history.


“In this wonderfully researched, lucidly organised book, Mauro Giori does not so much take us beyond the internationally renowned gay cinema of Visconti and Pasolini as place this in the extraordinarily rich, elusive and thrilling cinema of its time. His book is more than a fascinating overview of homosexuality in Italian cinema in a period exciting equally for the richness of Italian cinema and the emergence of gay identities. It is also a new kind of gay film history, weaving together film texts with production and censorship, gossip and scandal, festivals, criticism and cinemagoing, all beautifully contextualised in relation to the politics and culture of the times. This is a model of historical research and a vibrant account of an astonishing moment in queer culture.”

(Richard Dyer, Professor Emeritus of Film Studies, King’s College London)

“This archival work unearths a broad range of texts, from newspaper articles and exposés, to gossip, to film reviews, to documents relating to the production history of a film, including why and how certain images of homosexuality were censored. […] Giori’s is a kind of polyphonic history, cinema and Italian homosexuality being distinct melodic lines that sometimes harmonize, sometimes create dissonance, and sometimes crisscross to be indistinguishable. Reading this study, one often feels a sense in which the history of post-war Italian homosexuality is the history of post-war Italian cinema, and vice versa.

One of the strengths of this highly readable, often witty book is precisely the author’s flexibility of approach. Working 'across' film theory and film history, film history and cultural history, queer theory and queer history, cinema studies and queer studies (and queer cinema studies), as well as close analysis and reception studies, Giori has produced an impressive contribution to queer/Italian studies. Homosexuality and Italian Cinema is not simply a survey of representations of homosexuality in post-war Italian film – in and of itself invaluable – but a history of continuities and ruptures in the discursive construction of Italian homosexuality. […] Rather than cast the history of homosexuality and Italian cinema as the gradual attempt by Italian film to release homosexuality from the shadows of silence and invisibility, Giori instead identifies 'cultural lines of force', paired oppositions that characterized the production and reception of cinematic images of homosexuality in the post-war period. He convincingly argues that, in each case, the dominant strategy to disqualify and delegitimize homosexuality made possible a reverse- discourse via which homosexuality could speak and was seen. […]

What Giori’s employment of a Foucauldian model ultimately makes possible is a certain restoration of the 'openness' of the historical moment, an attentiveness to the competing and conflicting strategies whereby homosexuality was both silenced and made to speak, the two moves dependent upon one another. […] Throughout his study, Giori is particularly attentive to Gérard Genette’s concept of paratext, those 'external' factors that 'encrust' the film and inform its reception, including conflicting social understandings of homosexuality. Specifically highlighting the long shelf life in Italy of both pederastic and third sex models of same-sex desire, Giori’s study reminds us that the incoherent coexistence of these two models productively undermines a historicist attempt to define univocally 'our modern sexuality.'”

(John Champagne in gender/sexuality/italy B, 2019)

Interview on the website B


Prefazione all'edizione italiana V

Introduzione V

1     Silenzio

1.1 Chi ha paura dello Spagnolo? – 2.2 Sepolti nell'oscurità – 2.3 La narrazione criminale – 2.4 Sotto la legge del silenzio

2     Godersi il buio

2.1 Una scuola di omosessualità – 2.2 Un vasto pubblico – 2.2.1 Misteri all'italiana – 2.2.2 In centinaia di copie – 2.2.3 Il partito degli omosessuali – 2.2.4 Nelle ultime file – 2.3 Una relazione speciale?

3     Spogliare l'Altro

3.1 Omosessuali di notte – 3.2 Ascesa e caduta del fusto

4      Luchinidi e pasolinidi

4.1 È tempo di parlare – 4.2 La profezia di Fellini – 4.3 La grande alleanza – 4.4 Cinema «verde» – 4.5 Ragazzi di vita – 4.6 Un Pasolini milanese – 4.7 Smoking rosa

5      L'amore ai tempi del panico

5.1 Aria viziata – 5.2 Mentine e guaglioni – 5.3 La finzione, tutta la finzione e nient'altro che la finzione – 5.4 Risate a episodi

6     La rivoluzione sessuale all'italiana

6.1 Swinging Italy – 6.2 Da Lesbo al Far West

7     Pornografia della morte

7.1 Il ritorno della narrazione criminale – 7.2 Gli strani omosessuali dei gialli

8     L'unica cosa bella

8.1 La maleducazione del popolo italiano – 8.2 L'ideologia sullo schermo – 8.3 Dal buco ella serratura – 8.4 Persone che (non) vanno a letto insieme

9    Omofili e gay vanno al cinema

9.1 The French Connection – 9.2 Decoro ed eccitazione – 9.3 Parricidi da sinistra

11    Conclusione: martirio e piacere

Indice dei nomi e dei film

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See all articles and book chapters

© 2018-2019 by Mauro Giori

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