Vacanze di Natale (1983): Instant Nostalgia
‘Le madeleines di Proust sono ora prodotte in serie.’ (Emiliano Morreale)
Here I continue to extract some material from a forthcoming article written for the first issue of a new Italian journal of history and cinema edited by Christian Uva, entitled ‘Nostalgia per un decennio disprezzato: appunti sul primo cinepanettone’.
In an interesting book on nostalgia in the cinema, Emiliano Morreale argues that nostalgia in its ‘postmodern’ form was born in Italy in the 1980s. He locates to the years around 1980 the emergence of a ‘nostalgia mediale e di massa’ that finds its motifs and Madeleines in lowbrow culture. Morreale signals Sapore di Mare (Carlo Vanzina, 1983) as a key text of the ‘new’ nostalgia, a film which releases a ‘fenomeno centrale’ of the period, that of the ‘filone “giovanilista-nostalgico”’ in Italian cinema.
The cinepanettone and the ‘wrong’ sort of spectator
In this and the next post I extract some material from a pair of forthcoming articles, one by myself and one co-written with Catherine O’Rawe. My own article is written for an issue of a new Italian journal of history and cinema edited by Christian Uva, and is entitled ‘Nostalgia per un decennio disprezzato: appunti sul primo cinepanettone’. With Catherine I wrote ‘Contemporary Italian Filmgoers and their Critics’, to come out as part of the collection Watching Films: New Perspectives on Movie-Going, Exhibition and Reception, ed. by Karina Aveyard and Albert Moran (Bristol: Intellect, forthcoming 2012).
In the next post I will talk about the fan nostalgia for the first cinepanettone, Vacanze di Natale (Carlo Vanzina, 1983). The theme I want to develop here is my hunch that the critical accounts of the cinepanettone may be bound to the date of production of Vacanze di Natale. In other words, the film is seen by critics as an exemplary product of the decade in which, for many, a new qualunquismo that would become a full-blown berlusconismo was born. This was the period when, for critics like Brunetta, the Italian ‘homo cinematograficus’ spectated his last, to be replaced by a fickle and inconstant comedy fan like the one for the cinepanettone itself. Is it the case that the cinepanettoni are so regularly and ritualistically denigrated because they are considered to appeal to the ‘wrong’ sort of spectator, a non-cinephile sensation seeker?