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La commedia all’italiana

Masolino d’Amico in conversation with Enrico Franceschini    
Thursday 6 October, 6.30pm   

A history of Italian comedy at its brightest time, from the immediate post-war period to the mid-seventies.
Through seven chapters, Masolino d’Amico retraces the most important steps of an escapist (on the surface) art form, which became a mirror of Italy and a tool to humorously portray its society after the heavy censorship and limitations of the fascist era. The commedia all’italiana is the autobiography of a people, describing the passions, dreams, needs, vices and virtues of an entire nation. In d’Amico’s book, next to the true icons – actors like Totò, Sordi, Gassman, Mastroianni, Tognazzi, Manfredi, directed by the masters Monicelli, Risi, Germi, Comencini, Scola – there is also room for stories and people, met by the author and often neglected by the critics, that have contributed to making Italian cinema great, transforming the gaze on the present into a cinematic genre capable of raising a smile out of the big little misfortunes and fortunes of Italian life.


Masolino d’Amico (Rome, 1939) is a writer, translator, theatre critic, screenwriter and has taught English Literature at Roma Tre University. He is the author of several essays including Scena e parola in Shakespeare, Dieci secoli di teatro inglese (970-1980), Persone speciali and Altro giro. He is the curator of books by Wilde, Forster, Swift, and has translated Byron, Richardson, Stevenson, Carroll, Lawrence, Woolf, Hemingway as well as plays by Shakespeare, O’Neill, Miller, Williams, Ayckbourn. In cinema, he has translated and adapted English and American films and has worked as a scriptwriter with Zeffirelli and Monicelli.

Enrico Franceschini is the London correspondent for the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, for which he previously worked in New York, Washington, Moscow and Jerusalem. For his coverage of post- Soviet Russia he won the Europe Prize for Journalism in 1994. He is the author of a dozen books of fiction and non-fiction, including Voglio l’America (2009), Londra Babilonia (2011), Scoop (2017) and Ferragosto (2021).


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