Two useful encounters today. The first at Roma Tre University as a guest of Prof Vito Zagarrio (seen imitating Ringo Starr in the image above) where Luca and I presented my project, had the students fill in questionnaire A, played them the sound clip from my and Luca’s interview with Marco Martani, and then showed them the scene he was talking about. Unfortunately Luca and I had to run away before the discussion could take off, and I look forward to hearing from Vito what the students had to say. Thanks to him and the students for their help and welcome.
Luca and I had to run because we had organized a meeting with four ‘witting’ representatives (as I explained to them) of una certa intellighentsia. This meeting was intended as a kind of focus group in which I hoped to discern the substance of, and get some of the reasons for, a certain widespread feeling towards the cinepanettone on the part of those who consider themselves culturally well-informed or prepared. My four soliti ignoti, Damiano, Riccardo, Enrico and Nicola, were current or former university students with a heavy presence of philosophy and some film in their educational backgrounds. Thanks to them for a very intriguing and vigourous discussion.
We had hoped for six participants, and I had hoped for one or more women in the group in order to get, if not a representative view, then certainly a viewpoint articulated from a particular and diverse experience. The experiment must be considered, therefore, only of limited value, however articulate and interesting the views of the participants. But why of lesser value than, say, the interview with Marco Giusti, or with Marco Martani (both extremely articulate and interesting interviewees)? That is, why not take seriously the perceptions of a public, sympathetic or not, if we are trying to understand and analyse the appeal (or its absence) of a genre?
My plan - call it vernacular modernist - is to construct a kind of retrospective virtual roundtable on the cinepanettone with the views of critics, public, actors, directors, scriptwriters, producers, and so on, juxtaposed and given equal weight. Who would publish such a thing? Maybe, just maybe, I can find a journal of Italian cinema studies with a sympathetic editor?