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Open Access Microphysics of a rationalist utopia: Ruins, town plans, and the avant-garde documentary

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In 1934, Giuseppe Terragni, the father of Italian architectural Rationalism, planned and directed the renovation work of the city of Como. Retracing this utopian project ‐ definitively withdrawn after some years and never completed ‐ the article points out the singular relationship between the Terragni Studio and the young comrades of the University Fascist Film Club of Como: the ‘Cineguf’. The Cineguf were a complex network of film clubs spread all over the country; they were fostered and equipped by the National Fascist Party in order to create a new generation of filmmakers for the new fascist cinema. In these groups the avant-garde culture of the cine-clubs and the official aesthetic debates about a genuine realism found an original and controversial solution. The focus here is on the short film realised by the Cineguf which was commissioned by the Terragni Studio and financed by the Urban Office of the Municipality: Renovation of the Quarter ‘La Cortesella’. I proceed by taking into account different degrees of conceptualisation of the ‘trace’, presenting a reflection on the complexity of the historiographical operation, including the ways in which the historical traces of these filmmakers’ experience of modernity are identifiable in the text.
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Keywords: Fascist cinema; Walter Benjamin; amateur cinema; avant-garde; cinema; documentary; experimental cinema; fijilm; fijilm restoration; modern architecture; modernism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: PhD candidate at Università degli Studi di Udine.

Publication date: March 1, 2014

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  • NECSUS is an international, double-blind peer reviewed journal of media studies connected to NECS (European Network for Cinema and Media Studies) and published by Amsterdam University Press. The journal is multidisciplinary and strives to bring together the best work in the field of media studies across the humanities and social sciences. We aim to publish research that matters and that improves the understanding of media and culture inside and outside the academic community. Each volume includes feature articles, a special thematic section, a video essay section, and a reviews section that covers books, festivals, and exhibitions. NECSUS is targeted to a broad readership of researchers, lecturers, and students, and will be offered as a biannual open access, online journal.

    The journal is published in Open Access, with the following Creative Commons copyright license: Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

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