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Home and away: Nanni Moretti's The Last Customer and the ground zero of transnational identities

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While being in many ways consistent with Moretti's previous work, The Last Customer (2002) points to an emerging concern in the work of this very Italian director with the international dimension of his cinema. The documentary, which bears witness to the closure of a 100-year-old Italian pharmacy in New York, is a reflection on the creation and destruction of transnational identities. The small store - a home away from home not only for its owners, but also for its customers - hosted a community formed by a disparate group of people in real or imaginary diaspora, and threatened by the workings of late capitalism. The transnational character of this store depended on its being somewhere in-between at least two imaginary places: an Italy on its way to becoming extinct, with its ethics of the family business and institution of the neighbourhood store; and a myth, also fading, of the multiracial American metropolis.
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Keywords: Nanni Moretti; The Last Customer; documentary; postmodern communities; postmodern society; transnational identities

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: National University of Ireland, Cork.

Publication date: 2005-12-01

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  • The journal aims to provide a platform for the study of new forms of cinematic practice and fresh approaches to cinemas hitherto neglected in western scholarship. It particularly welcomes scholarship that does not take existing paradigms and theoretical conceptualisations as given; rather, it anticipates submissions that are refreshing in approach and exhibit a willingness to tackle cinematic practices that are still in the process of development into something new.
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