Cinematic representations of Italian office workers from the death of the travet to Fantozzi, 1952-1983
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In this dissertation, I study the Fantozzi phenomenon within the scope of its most popular filmic renditions and in relation to its previous and contemporary representations of white-collar workers in Italian cinema. Among my primary concerns is the investigation of the origins and establishment of the Fantozzi figure’s popularity and unconventional longevity through the films Fantozzi and Il secondo tragico Fantozzi by Luciano Salce (1975 and 1976), Fantozzi contro tutti and Fantozzi subisce ancora by Neri Parenti (1980 and 1983). The chronological terms of my dissertation coincide with the production years of two films: Alberto Lattuada’s 1952 Il cappotto, and Neri Parenti’s 1983 Fantozzi subisce ancora. The selected timeframe will allow me to investigate the evolution of discourses and practices on work from the years of post-WWII reconstruction, to the beginning of the post-industrial era. The initial chronological term is functional to the investigation of postwar rhetoric of work and productivity in the national effort to promote modernization and progress. My analysis will subsequently progress to include comedies Italian style and their protagonists’ 1970s evolutions—some featuring traditional actors such as Nino Manfredi and Alberto Sordi, some new, like Paolo Villaggio. The end term of the present dissertation will be 1983, the year of release of the fourth film in the Fantozzi series and the outset of what some Italian film critics have referred to as “cinema del riflusso.” While innovative in its insistence on the work of an impiegato qua impiegato, Fantozzi’s features and gags are profoundly indebted to previous, Italian and international representations of clerical workers. With the analyses proposed in this dissertation, I seek to construct a coherent narrative on cinematic representations of clerical workers by identifying and contextualizing common themes and clichés across the films.