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COMUNICAZIONI SOCIALI - 2004 - 1. Civiltà delle macchine. Il cinema italiano e le sue tecnologie

digital COMUNICAZIONI SOCIALI - 2004 - 1. Civiltà delle macchine. Il cinema italiano e le sue tecnologie
Digital issue
journal COMUNICAZIONI SOCIALI
issue 1 - 2004
title COMUNICAZIONI SOCIALI - 2004 - 1. Civiltà delle macchine. Il cinema italiano e le sue tecnologie
curatore Massimo Locatelli
publisher Vita e Pensiero
format Digital issue | Pdf
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Questo fascicolo collettaneo nasce nel quadro della ricerca nazionale interuniversitaria "Le tecnologie del cinema. Le tecnologie nel cinema", attualmente in corso. La ricerca si pone l’obiettivo di contribuire a una storia tecnologica del cinema italiano e in queste pagine sono raccolte alcune riflessioni metodologiche emerse nei gruppi di lavoro o nello studio di singoli casi, o ancora proposte come contributi esterni.

ARTICOLI

Introduzione: l’immagine del mondo
by Massimo Locatelli pages: 5 Download
Echi da un regno oscuro: viaggi nell’Italia del 1905-1906 dalla strada, al cinema, fino al teatro di posa
by Luca Mazzei pages: 6 € 6.00
Abstract
All human projects have a pioneer. In the sphere of reportage from the parallel ‘world’ of Italian cinema, journalism in Italy boasted Giustino Lorenzo Ferri, a theatre critic and chroniquer belonging to the old guard, who in August 1906 was brave enough to publish an intriguing report Tra le quinte del cinematografo [In the wings of the cinema stage] in the prestigious monthly «La Lettura». To counter the sense of unease awakened in him when reflecting on the backstage aspects of cinema, Ferri offered a solution that made reference to drama and the world of theatre. The article shows, however, that in the attempt to impose a pre-existing language, the resemblance to the theatre also tended to conceal innovations and masked horror of the unknown machine, of undefinable technology.
Tecnologia degli spazi di visione nel cinema delle origini: il politeama
by Elena Mosconi pages: 10 € 6.00
Abstract
The article examines the politeama, a specifically Italian type of location devoted to theatre performances that was characterised, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, by elements of continuity with traditional ‘Italian-style’ drama as well as by aspects suggestive of a movement towards innovation. It was the politeama, which was at one and the same time both classical and democratic in its aspirations, that bore witness to the non-violent transition from traditional performances to more modern forms, closer to popular sentiment, such as cinema. The article thus reconstructs the ways in which cinema was present in the politeama, highlighting the intermediality of cinema of the origins, the process of definition of the cinematographic experience, and finally, the relation between production, appreciation and national culture in the phase of institutionalisation of the cinematographic medium.
L’istituzionalizzazione del cinematografo nei manuali Hoepli (1907-1923)
by Raffaele De Berti pages: 8 € 6.00
Abstract
Between 1907 and 1923 the Milan publishing house Hoepli, specialised in practical handbooks since the second half of the nineteenth century, published three manuals devoted to cinema. Through the analysis of these texts the article seeks to assess the historical evolution that led to the fully-fledged institutionalisation of cinema, in other words to its recognition as an independent medium capable of producing films considered as works of art in their own right. The first two handbooks, Il cinematografo e i suo accessori. Lanterna magica e apparecchi affini. Vocabolario delle proiezioni (1907) [Cinema and its accessories. The magic lantern and related apparatuses. Dictionary of projections] by Guglielmo Re and Le proiezioni fisse e cinematografiche (1911) [Fixed and cinematographic projections] by Luigi Sassi, presented motion pictures as still closely dependent on photography and regarded the cinematographic medium as having a primarily didactic function. In contrast, the text by Vittorio Mariani, Guida pratica della cinematografia [Practical guide of cinematography] (1916 and second revised and expanded edition 1923) was devoted exclusively to cinema, by now considered as a new industry that was well organised into the different stages of production, with precise professional figures and its own specific language. This series of characteristics, reiterated in the second edition of the manual together with an acknowledgement of the relations between cinema and art, demonstrate that by the middle of the first decade of the twentieth century the new medium had now become fully institutionalised in Italy.
Il cinema tra opera d’arte e strumento di riproduzione meccanica: il dibattito sul diritto d’autore
by Maria Francesca Piredda pages: 7 € 6.00
Abstract
This article proposes to chart the development of copyright legislation as applied to cinema between the mid nineteenth and the early twentieth century. The analysis shows that members of the legal profession were unable to reach univocal solutions on account of the dichotomy between artistic identity and the technological profile intrinsic to the film product. Subsequently, once opinion had moved beyond the stage of its claimed relationship with other mechanical reproduction tools, cinema became the object of specific legislation, until the advent of sound once again underscored the ambiguity of its nature. By the close of the fascist era the prevailing context was one of uncertainty accompanied by a multiplication of proposals concerning the creation of purpose-designed cinema law distinct from copyright law.
Dell’affermazione del sonoro nel cinema: il marchio Tobis-Klangfilm
by Wolfgang Mühl, Wolfgang Mühl-Benninghaus pages: 14 € 6.00
Abstract
Starting out from a historical outline of early twentieth century investments in research aimed at developing the cinema sound track in Germany, the article sketches the economic and cultural context which, towards the end of the 1920s, led to the formation of an industrial cartel for international exploitation of the Triergon patent, which was a patent for optical reproduction of sound on film under the Tobis-Klangfilm brand. Attention also focuses here on the different marketing strategies applied to this brand, the competition with rival national and international brands, and the re-mediation processes involved in the introduction of sound cinematography onto the market, i.e. in the launch of what was by then a mature form of communication technology.
La piccola industria italiana e le sue scelte tecnologiche. Un caso esemplare: i proiettori delle Officine Pio Pion
by Luca Malavasi, Paolo Michetti pages: 9 € 6.00
Abstract
The essay proposes to study three key moments of the history of cinema from the technological perspective, using as “reagent” the Pio Pion Workshop in Milan that was active from the early twentieth century onward in the production of cinema projectors. The analysis focuses firstly on the manner in which technology served or simply encountered the programmes of the Mussolini regime, or, more generally, how cinematographic technology interacted with the socio-cultural and political milieu, both influencing and undergoing the influence of the surrounding context. Secondly, attention centres on the advent of the sound track and way Pion responded to this new element: it is shown that in relation both to the ‘body’ of the technology as well as its functions, the approach adopted by Pion reflected the overall evolutionary trend chacterising the history of cinema and consumption. Finally, the case of teleprojection, developed by Pion in the mid-1959s to allow the projection of television programmes at the cinema, embodies an attempt at technological integration which testifies to a special attitude towards the new medium: rather than magnifying the differences compared to cinema, emphasis was placed on heightening the similarities.
Un dolce inganno. Il sonoro nel cinema italiano dalla ricostruzione al boom
by Massimo Locatelli pages: 9 € 6.00
Abstract
In this essay cinema is set at the centre of the soundscape of immediate postwar Italy, at the time when the big screen was acquiring greatest importance in its role as a catalyzer – not purely in a technological perspective – of national imagination, but at the same time was preparing to give way to a new audiovisual system. The background evidence is that of a fairly well-known development of remediation that propelled cinema to the peak of popular imagination in 1950s Italy, subsequently repositioning it within the fledgling audiovisual system under the impulse of the uneven industrialisation of the country. To gain an understanding of this evolution, it is fundamental to take into account the relation of consanguinity of cinema with the acusmatic media of radio and the gramophone disc. The resulting trends were twofold. On the one hand, a process of mediation led Italians to adopt a new position within the social system that was taking shape; that is to say, the viewers began to familiarise themselves with new listening techniques (spatialisation of sound, position and posture of the body in the sound space, redefinition of perception standards and of aesthetic taste, electrification of sound on the level both of production and reproduction). Thus one of the functions 1950s cinema was called upon to fulfil was bring about a smooth transition between the new mode and the pre-existing models of production, distribution and enjoyment of motion pictures. On the other hand, numerous formulae of discursive negotiation sprang up, accompanying, driving or impeding this process; among such formulae, a fundamental role was played by technology, not least the technology involved in sound reproduction.
La stereofonia e il grande schermo in Italia
by Miriana Scorza pages: 7 € 6.00
Abstract
Before the introduction of Dolby in the 1970s, cinematic stereophony had experienced a brief season of success, in the era of panoramic formats. In Italy, both the cinema houses themselves and the production companies embraced this technological novelty, following the trend of United States cinema, where stereophony was launched in 1952 with Cinerama. But the latter was unsuccessful commercially on account of its exceptional nature, and its successor Cinemascope, launched the following year with four magnetic tracks, proved to be too expensive and was soon accompanied by the cheaper Perspecta Stereophonic Sound, a stereophonic effect simulator. This too was soon abandoned and by about 1958 Cinemascope, now standardised, had cautiously returned to the monophonic optical track.
Produzione e post-produzione sonora: la Fono Roma di Cologno Monzese
by Federico De Marco pages: 9 € 6.00
Abstract
Dubbing of foreign and Italian films, of television screen plays and cinema and television advertising, creation of radio features, the recording of classical and light music: all this formed part of the activities taking place on the premises of Fono Roma in Cologno Monzese, a premier centre for sound elaboration renowned both at national and international level. For the audiovisual industry of Milan, Fono Roma – set up by a prominent dubbing company of Rome – represented not only one of the souls of Cinelandia, the motion picture city that sought to emulate Cinecittà in the 1960s and 1970s, but above all a veritable research laboratory for sound creation and elaboration, both from the artistic and technological point of view. Operating in many spheres, from cinema to radio, from television to discography, Fono Roma was a hive of activity for artists and technicians who proceeded along a shared path which, though explored in common, was at the same time multimedial.
Sergio Leone e il ‘wide screen’ all’italiana
by Barbara Grespi pages: 13 € 6.00
Abstract
In the framework of the modernisation of forms that characterised Italian cinema in the 1960s, the article reconstructs the role played by a particular type of technology, Techniscope, in definition of the characters of the modern film spectacle. Launched on the market in 1962 and used for the first time in Ieri oggi domani (Vittorio De Sica, 1963), Techniscope is the Italian-made version of the wide screen formats that gained popularity during the 1950s. Unlike all other panoramic formats, it does not require anamorphic lenses during the shooting, and obtains 2.351 only by halving the area of film impressed in each individual photogram. Its main application was in ‘spaghetti westerns’, whose characteristic style, still imitated today, would have been inconceivable without the advantages of this technology. For Techniscope is in fact the only technique allowing not just the use of close-ups, but also the use of the zoom as well as wide-angle shots through which great depth of field can be obtained, a feature that was impossible for American Cinemascope motion pictures. By analysing some of the sequences of the cinema of Sergio Leone, whose style has so far been inadequately explained in purely technological terms, this study aims to define on the one hand the linguistic effects of this format, and on the other the conception of framing that it implies. It is shown in the article that during the 1960s the frame became the focal point in directing the film: it was experienced as a picture or a fresco, and its internal composition henceforth became fundamental, not merely for the authors.
Per una retorica della crisi. La minaccia dell’‘home movie’ nel dibattito tecnico-industriale dal 1969 al 1975
by Alice Cati, Deborah Toschi pages: 9 € 6.00
Abstract
Starting out from a survey of the various crises that have left their mark on the history of cinema, the article aims to explore the characteristics and results stemming from the appearance on the market of the technology of home cinema or “home box office”. Through a reconstruction of the technical-industrial debate that unfolded in journals during the period between 1969 and 1975, the study charts the main lines of an enquiry into the impact of the new devices on the social fabric. In this perspective, while on the one hand the first patents of videocassettes and videodiscs catalyzed anxiety concerning a new death of the cinema, on the other hand they contained the core of a sort of antidote which in subsequent years took shape as the institutionalisation of a new type of cinematographic experience.
La tecnologia come costrutto simbolico
by Andrea Bellavita pages: 7 € 6.00
Abstract
The article seeks to analyse the relations holding between the application of psychoanalysis to the filmic text as a hermeneutic discipline and the role played by technology (as technology of representation rather than as represented technology) within the analysis and theory of film. The proposal is thus to consider technology as a symbolic construct. Reflection starts out from pioneering cinema psychocriticism (carried out around the mid-1970s in a geographically French and culturally Lacanian area), which always considered the dispositif and the technological appareil as an a-historical function of film production and performance. Continuing along the path suggested by Lacanian psychoanalysis, and endeavouring to shift attention from reality (as impression de réalité) to the Real (as Lacanian register of the unrepresentable), the study will propose a ‘historic wager’, that is to say, it will stake the analysis on a shift in perspective that can restore to technology its dimension of diachronic evolution and its setting within the contemporary socio-cultural context. Through the perspective of the embodied eye, the ‘historic wager’ leads to a ‘new illusion’: that of the spectators, cherishing the illusion that they see themselves watching and that they inhabit the filmic space (in its scopic dimension) of the representation of reality and the anaesthetization of the Real.
Note per uno studio dei luoghi della visione filmica
by Mariagrazia Fanchi pages: 6 € 6.00
Abstract
The first signs that film studies were beginning to take an interest in analysis of the frames of cinematic vision came towards the end of the 70s. The revisionist trend emerging in the historical research tradition and the intensification of contacts with the cultural studies approach prompted an expansion of research perspectives, which now sought to include the context, i.e the situation, the set of conditions that mediate the encounter between the film and its viewer, within the list of subjects to be addressed. The essay traces the main lines along which this debate unfolded and the research activity conducted on the places of filmic vision, underlining the crucial nature of this aspect of research for an understanding both of the social and cultural functions of the medium and also of the forms and meanings assumed by the experience of viewing.
Nuove forme di spettacolo e di spettatorialità: il multiplex e l’esperienza di visione
by Georgia Conte pages: 7 € 6.00
Abstract
Space perception, in terms of the cinematographic experience, has undergone a radical change in recent years. The development of advanced technology and extensive economic investment has kindled in the viewers a heightened appreciation of spectacular scenes and special effects, perceived through the involvement of all the senses. In Italy, the context in which the experience takes place has been redesigned over the last seven years not only by the presence of innovative audiovisual equipment but also by the surrounding space, which is redefined in the form of strikingly large structural complexes known as multiplexes. The cinema hall thus becomes a reflection of the changes characterizing the modern metropolis; multiplexes are among the protagonists of the dissolution of the metropolis into the diffuse-city. These new structures assume the role of a channel of contact between individuals, redefining sociality within the framework of a new complex of relations that take place in the same space, in which the commercial aspect becomes predominant.
Il cinema fuori dal cinema
by Nicole Rigamonti pages: 6 € 6.00
Abstract
This work explores how the new digital technology of video compression and manipulation influences the way audiovisual material is experienced and brought into circulation. DivX, a revolutionary broadband compression codec which, together with the increasing spread of broadband connections, has given rise to an amazing synergy with the Net, renegotiates the relation between the viewer or listener and the text experienced, and can now be seen as a veritable watershed. This redefinition comes about through the exchange, acquisition and manipulation of audiovisual material, thereby influencing the concluding act, the act of vision. For the first time, text and screen are merged, creating an experience that arouses a powerful sensory impact. The Net, perceived as an infinite archive, and infinitely variegated, contributes to this revolutionary potential which, however, amid the general confusion resulting from the proliferation of material on offer, and in the absence of fixed reference points, remains on the level of a potential.
Recherché: ‘images d’avenir’ pour nouveaux spectateurs
by Viva Paci pages: 9 € 6.00
Abstract
Interaction and immersion are vague terms, which have to do with images, performance, but above all the audience. At certain times during its history, cinema has tried to follow the idea, or rather the utopia, of these elements experimentally, but the cinematographic dispositif has instead generalised a single and univocal discipline for the viewers: in a row, sitting, in darkness, in silence, all looking at a single screen. Experimental zones, open to viewer participation, to the involvement of senses beyond sight and hearing, have continued to exist on the periphery of cinema, in some avant-garde displays, in the forms of video and videoinstallation, within the framework of exhibitions and fairs destined to the public at large (and it is this zone that forms the special focus of the present paper). In particular, the case of Images du Futur, the international exhibition of art, new technology and communication (held in Montreal from 1986 to 1996: a decade characterised by great expectations with regard to advanced technology), will offer a vast and fascinating canvas which charts an evolution that unfolds among prototypical, and at times archaic, attempts at new types of viewing medium, dead media, dead ends that feed on fin-de-siècle imagination.

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