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MARTYRS ON THE SILVER SCREEN: EARLY CHURCH MARTYRDOM IN ITALIAN SILENT CINEMA (1898-1930)

NORTH, JOSEPH,ALBERT (2016) MARTYRS ON THE SILVER SCREEN: EARLY CHURCH MARTYRDOM IN ITALIAN SILENT CINEMA (1898-1930). Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

Full text not available from this repository.
Author-imposed embargo until 18 August 2021.

Abstract

While the historical film genre and works like Quo Vadis (1913) and Cabiria (1914) have long been considered as highpoints for Italian silent cinema, the religious aspects of the genre have remained little-explored. My thesis examines screen representations of the Early Church martyr between 1898 and 1930, investigating one illustrated lecture series, nine one-reel films and seven feature films. The early chapters set out the cinematic and intertextual contexts within which these films appeared, from the religious novels of the mid-nineteenth century to the Catholic film sector of the early 1900s. The first case study uncovers the depictions of Early Church life made by Vatican archaeologist and film pioneer Rodolfo Kanzler. Subsequent chapters consider depictions of martyrdom in one-reel narrative films, the first epic features, wartime propaganda, the sexualised epics of the 1920s and emigrant-commissioned projects. Tracing this theme across Italian silent cinema uncovers some fascinating works, including Enrico Guazzoni’s gory Fabiola (1918), the Lyda Borelli propaganda vehicle La Leggenda di Santa Barbara (1918) and Elvira Notari’s emigrant-commissioned project, Trionfo Cristiano (1930).

Combining cultural studies and close film analysis, I reveals connections between the films, Italian society, Catholicism and earlier cultural production featuring Christian martyrs. The thesis argues that the early Church martyr was a complex figure in Italian cinema, stuck between nationalistic interpretations of the Roman past and Catholic models of heroism; religious audiences and those seeking the decadent spectacles of ancient Rome; high art values and popular entertainment; domestic political meanings and transnational appeal. In balancing between these competing priorities and discourses, cinematic representations of the Christian martyr charted Italy’s relationship with its Classical and Early Christian pasts during the early part of the twentieth century.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Enrico Guazzoni","Italian cinema","Silent cinema,",silent film,",Italian silent cinema,",Catholic cinema,",Lyda Borelli,",martyrdom,",Quo Vadis,",Fabiola,",historical film,",Cines,",Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology,",Vatican cinema,",religious film,",Elvira Notari,",Georg Jacoby,",Carmine Gallone,",Ursus,",Early Church martyr,",Early Church martyrdom,",Early Church,",Cabiria,",Rodolfo Kanzler,",Luigi Maggi,",Giuseppe De Liguoro,",Milano Films,",Dora Film,",film censorship,",Saint Sebastian,",Saint Cecilia,",Catacombs,",Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei,",Last Days of Pompeii,",epic film,",
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:24 Aug 2016 09:25

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