Scenographies of Surveillance. The British Intelligence at Cinecittà, 1944-45

Research Seminar

  • Date: Apr 13, 2022
  • Time: 11:15 AM - 12:45 PM
  • Speaker: Noa Steimatsky
  • Location: Villino Stroganoff, Via Gregoriana 22, 00187 Rom
Scenographies of Surveillance. The British Intelligence at Cinecittà, 1944-45
What happens to a “factory of dreams” in times of war? Cinecittà, the Fascist-built Hollywood-on-the-Tiber, played a key role in the havoc of battle and occupation and post-World War II reconstruction.

The mind-spinning history that Steimatsky has uncovered in her research on the movie studio’s vicissitudes through the 1940s reveals, in fact, several different roles: these might seem foreign to the studio’s original purpose, yet the capacities and practices of filmmaking did not dissolve when the war invaded Cinecittà in the form of occupying armies, prisoners of war, and displaced persons. This presentation focuses on the British intelligence center set up in Cinecittà after the liberation of Rome, to hold, interrogate, and secretly surveille top-brass Nazi and Fascist prisoners. Steimatsky’s methodology, inspired by Rancière’s notion of the scene as historiographic dispositif, recognizes the site and spaces of the movie studio, and its imprint upon the strange events that transpired therein. Working closely with surveillance transcripts, she unravels their scenographic coordinates and devices, dissecting principles of scripting, staging, role-playing, props, flashbacks, and montage, to open up – through the lens of cinema – new perspectives on the scene of surveillance.

Noa Steimatsky is the author of Italian Locations: Reinhabiting the Past in Postwar Cinema (University of Minnesota Press, 2008) and the award-winning The Face on Film (Oxford University Press, 2017). She was recipient of the Fulbright Award, the Getty Research Grant, the Rome Prize, the ACLS Fellowship, the NEH Fellowship, and the Guggenheim Fellowship. Steimatsky was faculty member at Yale University and the University of Chicago. Her work on 1940s Cinecittà inspired a documentary film, and is currently being expanded into a book.


You can attend the event on-site by registering HERE and via streaming on our Vimeo channel: https://vimeo.com/698918346

Scientific organization: Carlo Ugolotti

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