By Angela Dalle Vacche
As medical discoveries and technological advances extensively modernized Europe round the flip of the 20th century, artists of all kinds all started wondering what it capability to be human in an more and more mechanistic international. lively by way of a luminous goddess at its heart, the diva movie supplied a discussion board for denouncing social evils and exploring new versions of habit one of the sexes. those melodramas of courtship, seduction, marriage, betrayal, abandonment, baby custody, and public attractiveness, to say just a couple of issues, provided girls a imaginative and prescient of—if no longer consistently a pragmatic desire for—emancipation and self-discovery. In Diva, Angela Dalle Vacche bargains the 1st authoritative examine of this significant "film" style of the cinema that preceded the good warfare of 1914-1918. She analyzes a few seventy motion pictures, in addition to the paintings of actresses comparable to Francesca Bertini, Lyda Borelli, and Pina Menichelli, to set up what the diva movie contributed to the modernist improvement of the "new woman." Contrasting the Italian diva with the Hollywood vamp Theda Bara and the recognized Danish big name Asta Nielsen, Dalle Vacche indicates how the diva oscillates among articulating Henri Bergson's bright life-force (?lan very important) and representing the pain determine of the Catholic mater dolorosa. Taking readers on a desirable travel that comes with the Ballets Russes, orientalism, paintings nouveau, Futurism, type, prostitution, stunt girls within the circus, aviation, anti-Semitism, colonialism, and censorship, Diva sheds vital new gentle at the eccentric implantation of modernity in Italy, in addition to on how, prior to global struggle I, the filmic photo used to be linked to the powers of the occult and never with the Freudian subconscious, as has been argued before.
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Extra info for Diva: Defiance and Passion in Early Italian Cinema
The cinema can and should be like a music for eyes: a music sustained by rhythm, but a particular kind of rhythm that unfolds in time and space and that is not perceptible unless one is gifted with a very special combination of musical and pictorial sensitivity. Only by obeying this rhythm is it possible to figure out the unfolding and the ordering of the various scenes, which go by according to the actual dura- tion of their happening, either in the foreground or in the background, until they integrate themselves in space.
Such a lacuna may be put into relation with a society lamenting the loss of responsible adult males. Often reduced to disobedient children or vulnerable sons whom the diva tolerates, supports, or accepts, these carefree or exploitative partners stood for a void in modern, constructive, and responsible historical agency. This is why, in the diva film, to compensate for the proliferation of dandies and Don Giovannis, of male artists and loafing aristocrats, old and tough patriarchal figures stay on.
After this brief encounter, however, Croce moved away from Bergson’s phenomenological stance and turned more toward Hegelian historicism. 15 According to the Italian film historian Luca Mazzei, Giovanni Papini (1881–1956), a Florence-based thinker with antiestablishment leanings, had read Bergson by 1900, being dissatisfied with positivist philosophy. At the age of twenty-two, Papini’s intellectual aspirations brought him into contact with other artists and writers. He founded and managed, with Giuseppe Prezzolini, the influential but shortlived magazines Leonardo (1903–1907) and La Voce (1908–1916), the latter of which Papini directed during 1912 and 1913.
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