Journal Article

Rossellini’s Cinema of Poetry: <i>Voyage to Italy</i>

Joseph Luzzi

in Adaptation

Volume 3, issue 2, pages 61-81
Published in print September 2010 | ISSN: 1755-0637
Published online July 2010 | e-ISSN: 1755-0645 | DOI:
Rossellini’s Cinema of Poetry: Voyage to Italy

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This essay considers the uses of lyric poetry in Roberto Rossellini’s film Voyage to Italy (1954), by focusing on Rossellini’s fictitious representation of an expatriate poet based on the character Michael Furey from James Joyce’s short story ‘The Dead’ (1914). The argument analyses Rossellini’s film in the light of the historical relationship between film and nonnarrative, lyric poetry, with specific reference to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s controversial theories on the cinema di poesia (cinema of poetry). Overall, the essay aims to show how Voyage to Italy generates relations between visual and verbal signs to create a ‘cinema of poetry’ that anticipates many of Pasolini’s theories on the supposedly nonlinguistic, irrational forms of knowledge beholden to film’s capacity to access directly the images of the unconscious and their montage-like modes of articulation. The argument also considers three challenges that have historically conditioned the relationship between film and lyric poetry—the perceived threats of verbal discourse, ocular vision, and causal narrative to ‘poetic’ cinematic representation—in relation to Rossellini’s film.

Keywords: adaptation; James Joyce's ‘The Dead’; Pier Paolo Pasolini's cinematic poetry; poetry in film; Roberto Rossellini's Voyage to Italy

Journal Article.  9782 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film ; Television ; Literature

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