Berkeley Film & Media Seminar
BFMS Lecture Series: John David Rhodes - Disemboweled Vision: Fascism, Rome and Cinema
Cosponsored by the Department of Italian Studies
John David Rhodes, Professor of Film at the University of Cambridge, will be giving a lecture on Thursday, March 22 entitled, "Disembowelled Vision: Fascism, Rome and Cinema."
Abstract: This talk looks at a variety of architectural, urbanist, cinematic, and art historical practices and discourses circulating in Rome during the Fascist period in order to delineate an aesthetic of disembowelment (sventramento) in which emptiness and blankness are granted autonomous artistic value and become markers and vehicles of cultural and aesthetic modernity. I argue that the empty spaces desired and produced by Fascism make themselves felt in cinematic production and social life of the postwar period.
John David Rhodes works on European and American cinema, with a strong focus on Italian cinema and Italian culture. He is especially interested in putting cinema into conversation with other artistic, cultural, and material forms. Cinema's relation to the built environment (especially urban space and place) has been a consistent object of interest in his work. His first book, Stupendous, Miserable City: Pasolini's Rome, interprets Pasolini's cinema and poetry as deeply felt political responses to Rome's enormous expansion in the postwar period. He also maintains an interest in avant garde cinema, one product of which is a recent book on Maya Deren's Meshes of the Afternoon, for the BFI's Film Classics series. He has co-edited three volumes of essays: On Michael Haneke (with Brian Price); Taking Place: Location and the Moving Image (with Elena Gorfinkel); and Antonioni: Centenary Essays (with Laura Rascaroli). He is a founding co-editor of World Picture, an online journal primarily dedicated to theoretical and philosophical approaches to media.
HIs most recent book, examining representations of the house in American cinema, is The Spectacle of Property (University of Minnesota Press, 2017).