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

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 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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