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

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Elenonora Duse, Grazia Deledda and Friends: A Feminine Collaboration in the Country of Melodrama
Elena Dagrada

Last modified: 2010-03-02


This paper intends to expand a study I have been presenting in Bologna, December  2007, at the “Non solo Dive” International Conference. The subject of this new investigation is represented by the numerous feminine collaborations that contributed to the making of Cenere (1916), Eleonora Duse’s single film interpretation. In fact, while it is nominally directed by  Febo Mari, the film is strongly marked by Duse’s very personal imprinting, which deeply influenced its making on several levels.  Moreover, Duse was not the only woman to be involved in the project. A careful investigation of her biography during the period in which she began developing her interest for the cinema clearly shows the important role played by other women, such as newspaperwoman Olga Ossani (also known as Febea, her pseudonym) or Sardinian Nobel prized novelist  Grazia Deledda. Thus, this new study aims to bring to light the variety of women’s engagement with Italian silent cinema before World War I.  It aims to do so through an insight view of the exceptional adventure represented by the making of Cenere, showing the important role women have played in modern mass culture even in a country like Italy, known as the “melodrama country” par excellence.


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