Giovanna Faleschini Lerner

Andrew W. Mellon Regional Fellow in the Humanities

20112012 Forum on Adaptations

Giovanna Faleschini Lerner

Assistant Professor, Italian, Franklin & Marshall College

Spaces of Adaptation in Contemporary Italian Cinema

No political or social issue is perceived more urgently in Italy today than immigration, with the adjustments it imposes on notions of cultural and national identity. This project examines a series of documentary films by independent filmmakers focusing on spaces that have become icons of the "clash of civilizations" in the Italian imagination: piazza Vittorio in Rome, via Padova and via Sarpi in Milan, and Lampedusa. These directors' work creates a counter-discourse of hospitality in response of the discourse of emergency and fear fueled by the mass media. In their documentaries, the spaces defined by diversity are privileged locations of transcultural dialogue, encounter, and mutual adaptation. The project also considers the films themselves as artistic and cultural spaces where processes of adaptation are facilitated and take place.