Industrial cinema in post WWII Italy aimed to present industrial facilities as active producers of wealth, development and democracy for the new Italian Republic. In particular, it wished to present Italian technical know-how and heavy industry as a young dynamic State, opposed to the traditional imagery of Italy as a sedated, immobilized country. Combining the style of old fascist propaganda with a more experimental language, industrial or corporate cinema established itself as a very successful genre, producing thousands of shorts in the span of few decades. This talk will discuss some of the most interesting examples of this genre from an authorial standpoint, like Michelangelo Antonioni’s Sette canne, un vestito (1948), Ermanno Olmi’s Costruzioni Meccaniche Riva (1956), and Vittorio De Seta’s Gela 1959: Pozzi a mare (1959). Particular attention will be given to the representation of technology seen in its formal and political implications.
Pierpaolo Antonello teaches modern Italian literature and culture at the University of Cambridge, UK, with a range of interests which includes Italian cinema, intellectual history, and 20th century visual art. He wrote extensively on the relationship between literature and techno-science and on the notions of ethics and commitment in contemporary Italian culture. With Robert Gordon, he is co-editor of the series Italian Modernities for Peter Lang.