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Joseph Luzzi: A Cinema of Poetry

Joseph Luzzi discusses his recent book addressing the aesthetics of the Italian Art Film

by John Welsh

In A Cinema of Poetry (2014), Bard College Professor Joseph Luzzi – a prize-winning literary critic and best-selling memoirist of the Italian-American experience – draws on his experiences as a teacher and his extensive knowledge of the history of poetry, rhetoric, and aesthetics to offer a fresh perspective on the Italian Art Film. Highlights include Luzzi’s exploration of the prevalence and function of a polyphonic “chorus” in neorealism, which he sees as inextricably linked to the Italian-ness of these films, as well as a splendid revisitation of Roberto Rossellini’s Voyage to Italy (1945), which draws on the cinematic theory of Pier Paolo Pasolini to situate the film in the lyric tradition.

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