La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film

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9780810858701: La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film
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With the exception of die-hard aficionados of European or Italian horror cinema, most people may not have heard of giallo cinema or have seen many films in this subgenre of horror. Most academic film studies tend to ignore horror cinema in general and the giallo specifically. Critics often deride these films, which reveal more about the reviewers' own prejudices than any problem with the works themselves. As a counter to such biases, Mikel J. Koven argues for an alternative approach to studying these films, by approaching them as vernacular cinema―distinct from "popular cinema." According to Koven, to look at a film from a vernacular perspective removes the assumptions about what constitutes a "good" film and how a particular film is in some way "artistic."

In La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film, Koven explores the history and evolution of this aspect of cinema, and places these films within the context of Italian popular filmmaking. He addresses various themes, motifs, and tropes in these films: their use of space, the murders, the role of the detective, the identity of the killer, issues of belief, excess, and the set-piece.

In addition to being the first academic study of the giallo film in English, this book surveys more than fifty films of this subgenre. In addition to filmmakers like Mario Bava and Dario Argento, Koven also looks at the films of Lucio Fulci, Sergio Martino, Pupi Avati, Umberto Lenzi, and others. In all, the works of twenty-five different filmmakers are considered in this book. Also explored are the inter-relationships between these films: how one influences others, how certain filmmakers take ideas and build off of them, and how those ideas are further transformed by other filmmakers. Koven also explores the impact of the giallo on the later North American slasher genre.

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About the Author:

Mikel J. Koven is Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at the University of Worcester. He is the author of Blaxploitation Films (2001) and Films, Folklore and Urban Legends (Scarecrow, 2007).

Review:

...an interesting study of Giallo...a very detailed analysis of the main themes of the genre... (Killing In Style)

La Dolce Morte is an informed and engaging examination of neglected and marginalized films that purposely provokes readers to re-examine biases against the giallo. (Rue Morgue)

La Dolce Morte presents sound and interesting textual analysis of an impressive number of gialli. (Senses Of Cinema)

...this is a serious contribution to film studies. It opens a side of Italian cinema that is rarely studied. Recommended. (CHOICE, Vol. 44, No. 11 (July 2007))

...a carefully constructed presentation and discussion of one of the most important phenomena in modern cinema. (Film Studies)

"Giallo," Italian for "yellow," is applied to a vernacular film genre (e.g., Sergio Martino's Torso, 1973) based on mystery novels with bright yellow covers that an Italian publisher has been producing since the 1920s. In the context of psychodynamics and Italian audiences, Koven (film and television studies, U. of Wales, Aberystwyth) explores themes including the outsider, sexually-driven murder, the amateur detective's role, and a view of these films from Pasolini's theory of a "cinema of poetry." He concludes that gialli, like other horror cinema, reflect modernity's ambivalence toward both traditional folk beliefs and science. (Reference and Research Book News)

Koven's study is highly detailed and wide ranging. Koven clearly adores his chosen subject and explores it with an eye to accessibility―he often writes wittily but always lucidly―and these are reasons why the book is so engaging. (Gothic Studies)

Koven's well-organized catalog of the subgenre's characteristics makes his book a valuable reference tool as well as an incisive critical study. (The American Society Of Cinematography)

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Book Description Scarecrow Press, United States, 2006. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. With the exception of die-hard aficionados of European or Italian horror cinema, most people may not have heard of giallo cinema or have seen many films in this subgenre of horror. Most academic film studies tend to ignore horror cinema in general and the giallo specifically. Critics often deride these films, which reveal more about the reviewers' own prejudices than any problem with the works themselves. As a counter to such biases, Mikel J. Koven argues for an alternative approach to studying these films, by approaching them as vernacular cinema-distinct from "popular cinema." According to Koven, to look at a film from a vernacular perspective removes the assumptions about what constitutes a "good" film and how a particular film is in some way "artistic." In La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film, Koven explores the history and evolution of this aspect of cinema, and places these films within the context of Italian popular filmmaking. He addresses various themes, motifs, and tropes in these films: their use of space, the murders, the role of the detective, the identity of the killer, issues of belief, excess, and the set-piece. Seller Inventory # AAC9780810858701

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Book Description Scarecrow Press, United States, 2006. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. With the exception of die-hard aficionados of European or Italian horror cinema, most people may not have heard of giallo cinema or have seen many films in this subgenre of horror. Most academic film studies tend to ignore horror cinema in general and the giallo specifically. Critics often deride these films, which reveal more about the reviewers' own prejudices than any problem with the works themselves. As a counter to such biases, Mikel J. Koven argues for an alternative approach to studying these films, by approaching them as vernacular cinema-distinct from "popular cinema." According to Koven, to look at a film from a vernacular perspective removes the assumptions about what constitutes a "good" film and how a particular film is in some way "artistic." In La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film, Koven explores the history and evolution of this aspect of cinema, and places these films within the context of Italian popular filmmaking. He addresses various themes, motifs, and tropes in these films: their use of space, the murders, the role of the detective, the identity of the killer, issues of belief, excess, and the set-piece. Seller Inventory # AAC9780810858701

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