© 2010

Women, Desire, and Power in Italian Cinema

  • Authors

Part of the Italian and Italian American Studies book series (IIAS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Marga Cottino-Jones
    Pages 1-10
  3. Marga Cottino-Jones
    Pages 11-18
  4. Marga Cottino-Jones
    Pages 19-35
  5. Marga Cottino-Jones
    Pages 37-51
  6. Marga Cottino-Jones
    Pages 53-74
  7. Marga Cottino-Jones
    Pages 211-224
  8. Marga Cottino-Jones
    Pages 225-226
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 227-254

About this book


Women, Desire, and Power in Italian Cinema offers, for the first time in Italian Cinema criticism, a contextual study of the representation of women in twentieth-century Italian films. Marga Cottino-Jones argues that the ways women are depicted on screen reflects a subconscious "sexual conservatism" typical of an Italian society rooted within a patriarchal ideology. The book then follows the slow but constant process of social awareness in the Italian society through women in film, especially after the 1950s. Comprehensive in scope, this book analyzes the films of internationally known male and female directors, such as Antonioni, Fellini, Rossellini, Visconti, Bertolucci, Benigni, Cavani, Wertmuller, Comencini, and Archibugi. Special consideration is given to the actresses and actors that have become the icons of Italian femininity and masculinity, such as Sofia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, Silvana Mangano, Gian Carlo Giannini, Marcello Mastroianni, and Alberto Sordi.


20th century cinema event fascism Italy Lighting love twentieth century violence women

About the authors

MARGA COTTINO-JONES is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Italian at UCLA, USA.

Bibliographic information


"Women, Desire, and Power in Italian Cinema is wise and refreshingly readable scholarship that should become a standard reference work for both scholars and students of Italian cinema and culture." - Italian Quarterly

"Cottino-Jones is to be applauded for her huge undertaking: an examination of a hundred years of Italian cinema through the lens of the representation of women. This is an important and necessary study that brings into relief, among other topics, the issue of stardom in order to tackle the issue of female representation." - Giorgio Bertellini, author of Italy in Early American Cinema and editor of The Cinema of Italy

"Cottino-Jones's long awaited Women, Desire, and Power in Italian Cinema is a clear, compelling, and innovative study which offers an exciting paradigm for examining women's issues in Italian cinema from the silent and early sound period to the present." - Carlo Celli, Professor, Department of Romance and Classical Studies, Bowling Green State University

"Rather than a polemical or reductive study of the role of divismo in Italian film and society, this book explores in considerable detail the complex relationship of sexual politics in the social construction of what it means and has meant to be a man or a woman as reflected in and by Italian film. Whether the subject is the semiotics of silent movies, the Neorealism of Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, or Vittorio De Sica, or 'female agency' in modern women filmmakers such as Francesca Archibugi and Cristina Comencini, this book offers insightful and incisive analyses of Italian cinematic history." - Ray Fleming, The John Francis Dugan Professor of Modern Languages and Linguistics, The Florida State University