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From the ashes of the war and the first experiments in neorealism, Italian cinema rose to become one of the most important and influential in the world.  With directors like Visconti, Fellini, Antonioni and many others it became a byword for art and innovation. This lecture will examine two people who played a vital role in this success; the producer Dino De Laurentiis (1919-2020) and the prolific screenwriter Suso Cecchi D’Amico (1914-.2010) Each thought more of the industry than art and worked not only with artistic directors but with the makers of the comedies and genre films that were the bread and butter of Italian film production. Their ways of operating could hardly have been more different: flamboyant and visionary in the case of De Laurentiis, discreet and modest in the case of Cecchi D’Amico. It will be suggested that these modes corresponded to the pattern of gendered labour in the industry, in which female contributions – no matter how important – tended to be invisible. While producers historically received far less credit than directors, the achievements of De Laurentiis are today more widely acknowledged. Yet it is hard to overestimate therole of Cecchi D’Amico in impressing the  marks of quality and humanity on Italian cinema that were essential to its worldwide successes in  the postwar decades.


Stephen Gundle is Professor of Film and Television Studies at Warwick University. He held academic positions at Cambridge, Nottingham, Oxford and London before moving to Warwick in 2008.  His research interests lie in the fields of film and cultural and political history, with a special emphasis on Italian cinema and other media and he is author of books including Bellissima: Feminine Beauty and the Idea of Italy (2007) and Glamour: A History (2008), Mussolini’s Dream Factory: Film Stardom in Fascist Italy (2013) and Fame amid the Ruins: Italian Film Stardom in the Age of Neorealism (2019). Several of his books have also been published in Italian. In recent years, he has directed two major research projects on producers and production practices in the Italian film industry.
A drinks reception will follow the talk.

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photo credit: Camera, Cinecittà Studio, by Sonse at

Wednesday 06 November 2024