The Questione Settentrionale: Reconfiguring Separatism

  • Simone Brioni
  • Daniele Comberiati
Part of the Studies in Global Science Fiction book series (SGSF)


This chapter shows how science fiction has reflected on the rise of xenophobic and independentist factions in the Northeast of Italy. The analysis focuses on Gabriele Salvatores’s movie Nirvana (1997), which depicts the tensions between an imaginary Northern Conglomerate and the rest of the world; Tullio Avoledo’s dystopic novel about the memory of the Holocaust, La ragazza di Vajont (2008); and Francesco Patierno’s movie Cose dell’altro mondo (2011), an Italian remake of Sergio Arau’s movie A Day Without a Mexican (2004), that imagines what would happen if all migrants in Italy disappeared, and which is set in a small village in the Veneto region. Science fiction leads us to uncover stories of domination and discrimination and challenges the presumed geographical and historical stability of national sovereignty.


  1. Anderson, Benedict. 2006 [1983]. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso. Print.Google Scholar
  2. Arpaia, Bruno. 2016. Qualcosa, là fuori. Milan: Guanda. Print.Google Scholar
  3. Avoledo, Tullio. 2005. Lo stato dell’unione. Milan: Sironi. Print.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 2008. La ragazza di Vajont. Turin: Einaudi. Print.Google Scholar
  5. ———. 2013a. The Girl from Vajont, trans. Ania Gillian. Leicester: Troubador. Print.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 2013b. Interview with Gillian Ania. The Girl from Vajont, 315–324. Leicester: Troubador. Print.Google Scholar
  7. Basso, Pietro, ed. 2010. Razzismo di stato: Stati Uniti, Europa, Italia. Rome: Franco Angeli. Print.Google Scholar
  8. Bhabha, Homi K., ed. 1990. Nation and Narration. London: Routledge. Print.Google Scholar
  9. Bonera, Italo, and Paolo Frusca. 2010. PhOxgen. Milan: Mondadori. Print.Google Scholar
  10. Boeri, Stefano. 2006. Contributi. Boeri: Immigrati versano e non ricevono, dono all’Italia., May 31. Accessed June 29, 2019. ricevono-dono-all-italia.html. Online.
  11. Carlotto, Massimo, and Marco Videtta. 2005. Nordest. Rome: Edizioni e/o. Print.Google Scholar
  12. Cento Bull, Anna Cento, and Mark Gilbert. 2001. Introduction. In The Lega Nord and the Politics of Secession in Italy, 1–8. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Print.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chiarelli, Cosimo, and Walter Pasini, eds. 2010. Paolo Mantegazza e l’evoluzionismo in Italia. Florence: Firenze University Press. Print.Google Scholar
  14. Csicsery-Ronay, Istvan. 2003. Marxist Theory and Science Fiction. In The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction, ed. Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn, 113–124. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Print.Google Scholar
  15. ———. 2008. Dis-Imagined Communities: Science Fiction and the Future of the Nation. In Edging into the Future: Science Fiction and Contemporary Cultural Transformation, ed. Veronica Hollinger and Joan Gordon, 217–237. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Print.Google Scholar
  16. De Franceschi, Leonardo, ed. 2013. L’Africa in Italia: Per una controstoria postcoloniale del cinema italiano. Rome: Aracne Editrice. Print.Google Scholar
  17. De la Garza, Armida. 2009. Mockumentary as Post-Nationalism: National Identity in A Day without a Mexican by Sergio Arau. In Visual Synergies in Fiction and Documentary Film from Latin America, ed. Miriam Haddu and Joanna Page, 119–132. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Print.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. DeGuzmán, María. 2012. Buenas Noches, American Culture: Latina/o Aesthetics of Night. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Print.Google Scholar
  19. Dickie, John. 1996. Imagined Italies. In Italian Cultural Studies: An Introduction, ed. David Forgacs and Robert Lumley, 19–33. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Print.Google Scholar
  20. Evangelisti, Valerio. 2014. O Gorica tu sei maledetta., October 15. Accessed June 29, 2019. Online.
  21. Fowkes, Katherine A. 2010. The Fantasy Movie. Chichester: Wiley. Print.Google Scholar
  22. Goodwin, Matthew. 2015. Migrants and the Dystopian State. In Alien Imaginations: Science Fiction and Tales of Transnationalism, ed. Ulrike Küchler, Silja Maehl, and Graeme Stout, 129–140. New York and London: Bloombsbury. Print.Google Scholar
  23. Gordon, Robert. 2012. The Holocaust in Italian Culture, 1944–2010. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Print.Google Scholar
  24. Gramsci, Antonio. 2005a. La questione meridionale, ed. Valentino Parlato. Rome: Editori Riuniti. Print.Google Scholar
  25. ———. 2005b [1926]. The Southern Question, trans. Pasquale Verdicchio. Toronto: Guernica. Print.Google Scholar
  26. Greene, Shelleen. 2012. Between Italy and Africa: Constructions of Racial and National Identity in the Italian Cinema. New York: Continuum. Print.Google Scholar
  27. Halbwachs, Maurice. 1992 [1950]. On Collective Memory, ed. and trans. Lewis A. Coser. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Print.Google Scholar
  28. Harvey, David. 1989. The Condition of Post-Modernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change. Oxford: Blackwell. Print.Google Scholar
  29. Levi, Primo. 1971. Vizio di forma. Turin: Einaudi. Print.Google Scholar
  30. ———. 1979 [1966]. Storie naturali. Turin: Einaudi. Print.Google Scholar
  31. Marra. 2014. Storia e controstoria. Ucronie italiane: un panorama critico. Accessed October 21, 2017. Online.
  32. Marra, Emiliano. 2014a. Il caso della letteratura ucronica italiana: Ucronia e pro- paganda nella narrativa italiana. Between 4 (7). Accessed June 29, 2019. Online.
  33. Masali, Luca. 2006. I biplani di D’Annunzio. Milan: Sironi. Print.Google Scholar
  34. Maule, Rosanna. 2008. Beyond Auteurism: New Directions in Authorial Film Practices in France, Italy, and Spain Since the 1980s. Bristol and Chicago: Intellect. Print.Google Scholar
  35. McClintock, Anne. 1992. The Angel of Progress: Pitfalls of the Term ‘Post-Colonialism’. Social Text 31 (32): 84–98. Print.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Moe, Nelson. 2002. The View from Vesuvius: Italian Culture and the Southern Question. Berkley: University of California Press. Print.Google Scholar
  37. Morselli, Guido. 1975. Contro-passato prossimo. Milan: Adelphi. Print.Google Scholar
  38. ———. 1977. Dissipatio H.G. Milan: Adelphi. Print.Google Scholar
  39. Patriarca, Silvana. 2016. A Crisis of Italian Identity? The Northern League and Italy’s Renationalization Since the 1990s. In Crisis as a Permanent Condition? The Italian Political System Between Transition and Reform Resistance, ed. Robert Kaiser and Jana Edelmann, 61–78. Baden Baden: Nomos. Print.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Pennacchi, Antonio. 2010. Canale Mussolini. Milan: Mondadori. Print.Google Scholar
  41. ———. 2013. Storia di Karel. Milan: Bompiani. Print.Google Scholar
  42. Renga, Dana. 2011. Pastapocalypse! End Time in Italian Trash Cinema. The Italianist 31: 243–257. Print.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ricciardiello, Franco. 2011 [1994]. Una bambola di stoffa rubata. Origine. Rivista scientifica di sociologia. Journal of Media and Sociology 4 (4). Accessed June 29, 2019. Online.
  44. Russo, Paolo. 2010. Body vs. Technology? Myths and Identity in Gabriele Salvatores’s Nirvana. In Italy on Screen: National Identity and Italian Imaginary, ed. Lucy Bolton and Christina Siggers, 186–200. Oxford: Peter Lang. Print.Google Scholar
  45. Said, Edward. 1978. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon Books. Print.Google Scholar
  46. Schneider, Jane. 1998. The Dynamics of Neo-orientalism in Italy (1848–1995). In Italy’s “Southern Question”: Orientalism in One Country, ed. Jane Schneider, 1–26. Oxford: Berg. Print.Google Scholar
  47. Soldati, Mario. 1975 [1974]. Lo smeraldo. Milan: Mondadori. Print.Google Scholar
  48. Srivastava, Neelam, and Baidik Bhattacharya, eds. 2012. The Postcolonial Gramsci. London: Routledge. Print.Google Scholar
  49. Toohey, David. 2012. Borderlands Media: Cinema and Literature as Opposition to the Oppression of Immigrants. Lanham, MA: Lexington Books. Print.Google Scholar
  50. Verdicchio, Pasquale. 1997. The Preclusion of Postcolonial Discourse in Southern Italy. In Revisioning Italy: National Identity and Global Culture, ed. Beverly Allen and Mary Russo, 192–212. Minneapolis and London: Minnesota University Press. Print.Google Scholar
  51. Welch, Riannon Noel. 2015. Vital Subjects: Race and Biopolitics in Italy. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. Print.Google Scholar
  52. Wong, Aliza S. 2006. Race in the Nation in Liberal Italy, 1861–1911: Meridionalism, Empire and Diaspora. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Print.Google Scholar
  53. Wu Ming 1. 2015. Cent’anni a Nordest. Milan: Rizzoli. Print.Google Scholar


  1. Cose dell’altro mondo. Dir. Francesco Patierno, perf. Diego Abatantuono, Valerio Mastandrea, Valentina Lodovini. Rodeo Drive: Italy, 2011.Google Scholar
  2. The Sheltering Sky. Dir. Bernardo Bertolucci, perf. Debra Winger, John Malkovich. Record: Great Britain-Italy, 1990.Google Scholar
  3. Johnny Mnemonic. Dir. Robert Longo, perf. Keanu Reeves, Ice-T. Alliance: USA, 1995.Google Scholar
  4. La casa sulle nuvole. Dir. Claudio Giovannesi, perf. Francesco Apice, Matteo Berdini. Rai Cinema: Italy, 2009.Google Scholar
  5. La fantarca. Dir. Vittorio Cottafavi, perf. Lino Puglisi, Laura Zanini. Rai: Italy, 1966.Google Scholar
  6. Last Minute Marocco. Dir. Francesco Falaschi, perf. Valerio Mastrandrea, Maria Grazia Cucinotta. 001: Italy, 2007.Google Scholar
  7. Matrix. Dir. Lilly and Lana Wachowski, perf. Keanu Reeves, Lawrence Fishburne. Warner Bros.: USA, 1999.Google Scholar
  8. Nirvana. Dir. Gabriele Salvatores, perf. Christopher Lambert, Diego Abantantuono, Stefania Rocca, Sergio Rubini. Vittorio Cecchi Gori: Italy, 1997.Google Scholar
  9. Noi due soli. Dir. Marino Girolami, Marcello Marchesi, and Vittorio Metz, perf. Walter Chiari, Hélène Rémy. Mambretti: Italy, 1952.Google Scholar
  10. Piccola Patria. Dir. Alessandro Rossetto, perf. Vladimir Doda, Maria Roveran, Roberta Da Soller. Jump Cut: Italy, 2013.Google Scholar
  11. Strange Days. Dir. Kathryn Bigelow, perf. Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Lewis, Angela Bassett. Cameron-Universal: USA, 1995.Google Scholar
  12. The Day After Tomorrow. Dir. Roland Emmerich, perf. Dennis Quaid, Emmy Rossum. 20th Century Fox: USA, 2004.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simone Brioni
    • 1
  • Daniele Comberiati
    • 2
  1. 1.Stony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3MontpellierFrance

Personalised recommendations