Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

A brutal humanism for the new millennium? The legacy of Neorealism in contemporary cinema of migration

Buy Article:

$14.00 + tax (Refund Policy)


This article proposes that the institutional construction of Italian cinema of migration in the new millennium may be conditioned by an enduring, implicit aspect of Neorealism's legacy: a 'brutal humanism' that posits the witnessing of bodies in crisis as an ethical act. Supplementing Karl Schoonover's theory of brutal humanism with Lacanian gaze theory, I argue that the Berlin International Film Festival's synopsis of a recent cause célèbre of Italian cinema, Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea) (Rosi, 2016), instantiates a 'brutal vision' directed towards the figure of the refugee, while the film text's depiction of the 'objective gaze' of these characters challenges such relations of power and looking. The article underlines the importance of competitive European film festivals and paratexts in the international circulation and ideological construction of Italian cinema, while arguing that the film text itself can offer a site of resistance to the meanings that institutions ascribe to it.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: Fire at Sea; Lacanian gaze theory; Neorealism; brutal humanism; cinema of migration; film festivals; neo-colonialism; refugee crisis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000419368403 University of Leeds

Publication date: January 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • 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.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Intellect Books page
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more