A Clear Sign of Renaissance for Italian Cinema

A. D.C. (June 06, 2008)
Professor Antonio Monda on Italian cinema's promising future...

I sat down with Antonio Monda, who told me about Italian cinema's promising future.  He is an Associate Professor at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and a renowned film scholar and director, whose recent film "Dicembre" won several awards at the Venice Film Festival.  Among the several books that he has published, La Magnifica Illusione (The Magnificent Illusion) won the Efebo d'Oro award in 2003 and his recent book Do You Believe? features a compilation of famous actors and directors in an intriguing discussion on their religious beliefs.   

What do you think has changed now in Italian cinema?   

Well, two weeks ago, two Italians won two prizes in Cannes.  This is the first time in a decade that this has happened, the last time being in ’97 I think.  This is a clear sign of a Renaissance for Italian Cinema but at the same time, if you watch the two films, “Gomorra” and “Il Divo,” there is a language that is so modern, so intelligent, so full of talent that is a great sign for Italian cinema today.  It is definitely a victory. 

With this victory and apparent “Renaissance,” do you think Italian cinema has once again gained that notoriety, prestige, and popularity that earlier schools once had, such as neorealism?

No, I think that’s definitely a bit too early to say, but we are certainly on the right path.  The victory is still a very good sign, however. 

Do you think for Italian directors to gain further worldwide recognition and capitalize further upon this victory that there need to be more Italian films made in Sorrentino’s and Garrone’s unique ways?

Of course the victory is good for Italian cinema, but at the same time both authors are so personal and so peculiar, that I don’t think they could become a school. Besides, we have other important names such as Emanuele Crialese, Saverio Costanzo, and a few others. But these two [Sorrentino and Garrone] are quite unique I would say. 

Do you think Italian cinema needed the influence of these younger directors to bring life into it once again?

Yes, absolutely. 

Considering the influx of these younger directors with their new perspective on things, do you feel that Sorrentino and Garrone have somewhat adapted their films to modern times?

Yes. Both films, in particular I must say “Gomorrah,” speak the language of Italian.  This is the new signal: the fact that they now are no longer influenced by television and no longer have poor ideas of language.  There is something new, something completely vital. 

When you say something “new and vital,” what do you mean exactly?

It is the love of the language of image—it’s quintessential cinema, moving images.