My research explores recent Italian cinema that engages with the subject of migration to Italy in relation to filmic emotion. The growing body of Italian films on migration demands attention for their representations of identity in Italy amidst a shifting social and political landscape.
The following questions are central to my thesis:
- What is the relationship between a film’s emotional engagement and its ethical and political commitment?
- How is emotion a tool to engage (impegnarsi) with discourses on migration and national identity.
To address these questions, I will analyse the relationship between aesthetics, emotional engagement, critical thinking and ethical experience, by combining two theoretical fields: firstly, the cognitive theories of cinematic emotion, which will support my analysis of the formal film techniques that encourage emotional engagement. Secondly, I will combine this with phenomenological understandings of empathy and the cinematic experience, to provide a more descriptive account of how emotion functions in relation to the socio-political subtexts of the films.
By bringing these theoretical frameworks together, I hope to demonstrate the importance of emotion in understanding contemporary works of impegno, or political and ethical engagement, which has remained largely unexplored in the Italian context.