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A threefold adaptation: Mario Martone's Leopardi

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This article explores how Martone's seemingly traditional period biopic of nineteenth-century Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi challenges the conventions of the genre, and could be read, instead, as an interesting case of cinematic adaptation on at least three different levels. I propose that Il giovane favoloso (Leopardi) is a film that, as a biopic, can be understood as an adaptation of a life experience ‐ an adaptation that, in its cinematic construction, expresses an awareness of the biopic as a film genre that can only perform a representational version of a life. Secondarily, Leopardi is a film that engages with an array of cinematic strategies to 'give body' to Leopardi's lyrical texts, turning his lines into a sensorial experience. Finally, it is a film that not only 'translates' specific literary texts in images but also expresses the overall development of Leopardi's poetics into a distinctly cinematic syntax.
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Keywords: Giacomo Leopardi; Il giovane favoloso; Leopardi; Mario Martone; adaptation; biopic; poetic cinema

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000088284546 Rowan University

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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