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Italian transnational masculinity: Jeeg Robot, Il ragazzo invisibile and MilzaMan

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This article looks at three recent examples of superheroic masculinity in Italian film and media, arguing that it is always conceptualized transnationally, triangulated between Italy, the United States and a vague 'East'. This transnational masculinity is repeatedly coupled with fantasies and anxieties about the environment ‐ the toxic, as Mel Chen suggests, is animate, weaving in and out of containers, bodies and borders, allowing it to threaten Italian bodies (toxic waste, garbage, the 'ecomafia' of the South), and allowing us to imagine that it might bestow on those same bodies the strength, vitality and power to resist the toxic. Ultimately, these toxic and transnational male bodies may be always from elsewhere, but strangely Italian, too ‐ after all, Esposito argues that the hallmark of Italian thought is precisely a refusal of the idea of a stable and strong national identity.
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Keywords: Italian cinema; Jeeg Robot; MilzaMan; Ragazzo invisibile; Roberto Esposito; masculinity; toxic; transnational

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000121903186 University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Publication date: January 1, 2020

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  • The Journal of Italian Cinema & Media Studies (JICMS) is a fully peer reviewed English language journal, which explores Italian cinema and media as sites of crossing, allowing critical discussion of the work of filmmakers, artists in the film industry and media professionals. The journal intends to revive a critical discussion on the auteurs, celebrate new directors and accented cinema, and examine Italy as a geo-cultural locus for contemporary debate on translocal cinema.
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