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Muscling the Nation: the Maciste Films of Italian Silent Cinema

Muscling the Nation: the Maciste Films of Italian Silent Cinema
2 Sussex Avenue, Innis College Room 222
Time: Sep 17th, 4:00 pm End: Sep 17th, 6:00 pm
Interest Categories: Italian Studies (FAS), History (FAS), Cinema, 1900-1950
Lecture by Jacqueline Reich, Fordham University

The Emilio Goggio Chair in Italian Studies is pleased to present:

Jacqueline Reich, Communications & Media Studies, Fordham University

Muscling the Nation: The Maciste Films of Italian Silent Cinema

Italian film star Bartolomeo Pagano’s Maciste, born in the canonical Cabiria (1914) and then star of his own highly successful series of films, played a crucial role in Italian cinema’s narrativization of a unified national identity before, during, and after World War I for both a national and international audience. His heroic narratives aligned him with pressing national and political imperatives, including Italy’s intervention in World War I, modernization, the birth of Fascism and its colonial aspirations.
My talk follows the distribution and exhibition of Maciste’s first three films to the United States, where Maciste/Pagano came to be billed as the Douglas Fairbanks of Italian cinema. Maciste (1915) and Maciste alpino (1916), released in the United States respectively as Marvelous Maciste (1916) and The Warrior (1917), were major successes from coast to coast, as attested to by the blanket coverage the films received in the press. Maciste’s transatlantic passage reveals how foreign feature films were marketed and mobilized to support national policies during World War I. They celebrated the wartime alliance between Italy and the United States as they interacted with the popularity of the American serial, the war film and the film star
Jacqueline Reich is Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University.  She is the author of The Maciste Films of Italian Silent Cinema (Indiana UP, 2015) and Beyond the Latin Lover: Marcello Mastroianni, Masculinity, and Italian Cinema (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2004). She is also co-author, with Catherine O’Rawe, of Divi italiani (Donzelli, 2015) and co-editor with Piero Garofalo of Re-viewing Fascism: Italian Cinema, 1922-1943 (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2002).  She also curates the book series New Directions in National Cinemas for Indiana University Press.

This event is free and open to all but an RSVP is requested.  To RSVP, or for additional information, email  italian.studies@utoronto.ca or call (416) 926-2345.

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