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

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


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.


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

Works Cited

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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