From the origins of the silent feature film and the creation of the star system, Italy has been at the forefront of the development of cinema as a mass phenomenon. Popular Italian genre films were among the most internationally successful Italian films ever, inundating the cinemas of Latin America and the Middle East as well as serving as B-movies in theatres across the United Kingdom and America. Cinema played a central role in Italian life, promoting Italian fashion and music and forming a key concern politically. Yet Italian cinema, like that of other European countries, is best known academically as a source of films for the international arthouse circuit. This book seeks to reassess this imbalance by bringing together some of the most innovative and distinguished scholarship in the field for a comprehensive examination of how 'the popular' works in Italian cinema, from opera to the missionary film to sex comedies.
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