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Futurist Poetics and the Cinematic Imagination: Marinetti's Cinema without Films

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This chapter discusses Marinetti's ambivalent attitude towards the cinematic medium as a possible explanation for the failure of Futurist cinema. Although the leader of Futurism appeared to profoundly understand the workings of the film language, he never fully promoted the development of Futurist cinema. Although he practiced a kind of 'cinematization' of Futurist theatre, he never openly acknowledged the inspiration of the new technology in his creative writings. He wrote a complete screenplay, entitled Velocità, but kept it secret until after his death. In other words, cinema played an important role in Marinetti's intellectual and artistic formation, but was often forgotten or repressed. On the other hand, Marinetti's role in the field of cinema studies has also remained undervalued. I shall demonstrate this by taking into account not only Marinetti's concrete filmic achievements (such as his contribution to the publication of The Futurist Cinema and the realization of Vita Futurista), but also his Futurist poetics as developed in various theatre and literature manifestos. It is especially in the latter that one can detect Marinetti's strong affinities with cinema. By analyzing a series of key concepts, such as the Futurist analogy, the wireless imagination, the poetry of second terms, the mechanical man with interchangeable parts, the Futurist marvellous, and the polyexpressiveness, Marinetti's intuitive theorization of cinema is revealed.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-10-01

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