It’s a Branded New World: The Influence of State Policy upon Contemporary Italian Film Narrative



This chapter explores the influence of Italy’s recently introduced law on tax credit and product placement upon national film production. This law, passed in 2010, but enforced in 2011, encourages non-media companies to invest in Italian film production using the twofold incentives of tax credit and product placement. In Italy product placement, which consists of ‘incorporating brands in movies in return for money or for some promotional or other consideration’, has been legal since 2004.1 However, this chapter argues that the association of product placement with tax credit, which has no equivalent in other EU states to date, increases the financial involvement of private companies in film production in a way that enhances commercial influence upon the narrative and aesthetic features of the films. The chapter verifies this hypothesis through the analysis of a case study, the 2012 comedy The Commander and the Stork (Il Comandante e la Cicogna — hereafter The Commander), directed by Italian film-maker Silvio Soldini. In accordance with the new law, Lumière & Co., the Milan-based production company that made the movie, signed a partnership with Italian company ILLVA Saronno, allowing the famous Disaronno liqueur brand to star in one of the film’s scenes and the company to benefit from tax credit on its investment.2 This film is a particularly interesting case study not only because it is one of the very first (and, as will be discussed, still very few) implementations of the law, but also because of its production and artistic profile.


Joint Venture Product Placement Cultural Relevance Interesting Case Study Direct Fund 
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