Dipartimento di Musica e Spettacolo - CONFERENZE, Women and the Silent Screen Conference

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The Smartest Spectator: Angelina Buracci and the Italian Cinema of the 1910s
Luca Mazzei

Last modified: 2010-04-19


In the first decade of the 20th century, the Italian film public was largely composed of women. Several novels of the time were related to femininity, most of which were written by female writers. However, a reversal of the trend occurred in the course of the following ten years, when cinematic narration was predominated by male writers.  Pirandello’s exploit with the sadistic Quaderni di Serafino Gubbio Operatore (1915) is a quite remarkable example. In this work should we see the ending of the relation between movie theatres and female writing? No, we shouldn't. The special relationship of women with children - another important category of moviegoers - provided women with a new occasion for talking about the movies. Admitted to the labor market as teachers, women specialized in the relation between film and childhood. In this regard, one of the most important contributions is that of the feminist and pacifist pedagogist Angelina Buracci.  After graduating with a thesis on this peculiar topic at the University of Bologna, Buracci wrote what could be indeed considered the most interesting study of the time, Cinematografo educativo (1916). In this work she demonstrated not just familiarity with the Italian movie theaters of the period, but also a remarkable independence of thought. My paper aims to bring to light not only the uniqueness of her book Cinematografo educativo, but also the sociocultural horizon of this fairly unknown pedagogue of the early 20th century.

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