Unnatural Child Birth: Naples, the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit, and the Blank Space of Possibility in Francesca Comencini’s Lo Spazio Bianco

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

Abstract

Millicent Marcus, “Unnatural Child Birth: Naples, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and the Blank Space of Possibility in Francesca Comencini’s Lo spazio bianco.” Marcus analyzes Lo spazio bianco in the following terms: as an adaptation of Valeria Parrella’s eponymous novel; as a subversion of the topos of Naples as a place of triumphant procreativity (enshrined in Roberto Rossellini’s Viaggio in Italia, and in the “Adelina” episode of Vittorio De Sica’s “Ieri, oggi domani); as a rejection of conventional romantic plot structure; and as an experiment in a new cinematic language adequate to the experience of the “inside-out” pregnancy made possible by the technology of artificial gestation. The essay explores Lo spazio bianco as the space of possibility opened up by the protagonist’s willingness to free herself from a series of social and psychological restrictions during the interval between her baby’s premature birth, and the child’s release from the high-tech womb of the neo-natal intensive care unit.

Keywords

Francesca Comencini Childbirth Intensive care unit Blank space Naples High-tech womb 

Works Cited

  1. Bellocchio, L. (2014). (A) Morality of Kinship in Italian Cinema (1960–2010). Unpublished dissertation. New Brunswick: Rutgers University.Google Scholar
  2. Benjamin, W. (1969). The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. In (H. Arendt (Ed.), H. Zohn (Trans.)). Illuminations (pp. 217–253). New York: Schocken Books.Google Scholar
  3. Karagoz, C. (2013). Motherhood Revisited in Francesca Comencini’s Lo spazio bianco. In M. Cantini (Ed.), Italian women filmmakers and the gendered screen (pp. 103–119). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Kermode, F. (1975). The sense of an ending: Studies in the theory of fiction. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Marcus, M. (2000). The Italian body politic is a Woman: feminized national identity in postwar Italian film. In D. E. Steward & A. Cornish (Eds.), Sparks and Seeds: Medieval Literature and its Afterlife, Essays in Honor of John Freccero (pp. 329–347). Turnhout: Brepols.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Parrella, V. (2008). Lo spazio bianco. Turin: Einaudi.Google Scholar

Filmography

  1. Comencini, F., & dir., (2009). Lo spazio bianco (The White Space). Italy: Fandango.Google Scholar
  2. De Sica, V., dir. (1963). Ieri, oggi, domani (Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow). Italy and France: Champion, Les Films Concordia.Google Scholar
  3. Rossellini, R., & dir., (1954). Viaggio in Italia (Journey to Italy). Italy and France: Italiafilm, Junior, Sveva.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA

Personalised recommendations