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Kif tebbi: visions of colonial Libya in novel and film

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Abstract:

This essay examines Mario Camerini's award-winning silent Italian film Kif tebbi (1928) and the original source novel by Luciano Zuccoli (1923). These works have been largely neglected by Anglophone scholars yet hold an important role as precursor to 1930s fascist colonial film culture. Set in North Africa, the story pays tribute to Italy's 1912 conquest of Libya. Its coupled themes of war and romance, desert setting, and non-European characters foster a mythic tone that also suggests a connection to French orientalist traditions. This intertextual study looks at conflicting themes in novel and film with its traces of transnational literary and filmic aspects. It also considers the overarching ethnographic component, which reveals ideas of racial and cultural difference through its projection of Africa.

Keywords: AFRICA; COLONIAL LIBYA; ETHNOGRAPHIC; FRENCH ORIENTALIST TRADITION

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/jrs.2012.120205

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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