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Dressing Checco Zalone: Popular Italian cinema and the rhetoric of national character

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This article starts from the assumption that male film costuming and popular Italian cinema have been two under-researched topics. The study of costumes in popular cinema requires different tools compared to those of the study of cinema stars and the way people use fashion in everyday life should be at the centre of the analyses of dress, fashion and film. This article, through a close analysis of the box office hits Cado dalle Nubi (2009) and Sole a Catinelle (2013) by Nunziante, against the background of the Oscar-winning The Great Beauty by Sorrentino (2013), aims to suggest that their sartorial codes, which draw upon notions of kitsch and dandyism, offer up afresh deeply rooted stereotypes of Italy and Italian masculinity. In developing the analysis, the article will also take into account that cultural watershed in the Italy’s history of Italy that was represented by berlusconismo, when vulgarity and bad taste in clothing choices were associated with moral and political judgements on the so-called italiano medio – the average Italian.
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Keywords: Cado dalle Nubi; Checco Zalone; Italianness; Sole a Catinelle; The Great Beauty; costume design; masculinity; national character

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Sapienza University

Publication date: August 1, 2016

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  • Film, Fashion & Consumption is a peer-reviewed journal designed to provide an arena for the discussion of research, methods and practice within and between the fields of film, fashion, design, history, art history and heritage. The journal seeks to stimulate ongoing research on these topics and to attract contributions not only from scholars researching in these areas but also from practitioners, who are traditionally excluded from academic debate. The journal thus aims to unite and enlarge a community of researchers and practitioners in film, fashion, consumption and related fields, whilst also introducing a wider audience to new work, particularly to interdisciplinary research which looks at the intersections between film, fashion and consumption.
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