Hollywood's Italian American Filmmakers : Capra, Scorsese, Savoca, Coppola, and Tarantino
Hollywood's Italian American Filmmakers explores the different ways in which Italian American directors from the 1920s to the present have responded to their ethnicity. While some directors have used film to declare their ethnic roots and create an Italian American "imagined community," others have ignored or even denied their background. Jonathan J. Cavallero examines the films of Frank Capra, Martin Scorsese, Nancy Savoca, Francis Ford Coppola, and Quentin Tarantino with a focus on what the films reveal about each director's view on Italian American identities. Whereas Capra's films highlight similarities between immigrant characters and WASP Americans, Scorsese accepts his ethnic heritage but also sees it as confining. Similarly, many of Coppola's films provide a nostalgic treatment of Italian American identity, but with little criticism of the culture's more negative aspects. And while Savoca's movies reveal her artful ability to recognize how ethnic, gender, and class identities overlap, Tarantino's films exhibit a playfully postmodern engagement with Italian American ethnicity. Cavallero's exploration of the films of Capra, Scorsese, Savoca, Coppola, and Tarantino demonstrates how immigrant Italians fought prejudice, how later generations positioned themselves in relation to their predecessors, and how the American cinema, usually seen as a cultural institution that works to assimilate, has also served as a forum where assimilation was resisted.
- Hardback | 264 pages
- 164 x 240 x 22mm | 480.81g
- 17 May 2011
- University of Illinois Press
- Baltimore, United States
Table of contents
Acknowledgments ix Introduction 1 1. Frank Capra: Ethnic Denial and Its Impossibility 11 2. Martin Scorsese: Confined and Defined by Ethnicity 45 3. Nancy Savoca: Ethnicity, Class, and Gender 77 4. Francis Ford Coppola: Ethnic Nostalgia in the Godfather Trilogy 99 5. Quentin Tarantino: Ethnicity and the Postmodern 125 Conclusion: Ancestral Legacies and History's Lessons 151 Notes 165 Bibliography 193 Index 213
"A solidly researched, engagingly argued, and innovative perspective on each one of them, but it also opens up cinematic discourse on (Italian) ethnicity to wider horizons of cultural and political reflections and leaves us with a constructive, dynamic vision of identity."--Italian American Review "This book makes a significant contribution to the limited academic literature on Italian American filmmakers. The description and analysis is first-rate and convincing, and its subject matter will appeal to the general public, as well as scholars, researchers, and students in many disciplines."--Frank Tomasulo, coeditor of More than a Method: Trends and Traditions in Contemporary Film Performance "Cavallero's research is extensive and of high quality. . . . Highly recommended."--Choice "This book makes a significant contribution to the limited academic literature on Italian American filmmakers. The description and analysis is first-rate and convincing, and its subject matter will appeal to the general public, as well as scholars, researchers, and students in many disciplines."--Frank Tomasulo, coeditor of More than a Method: Trends and Traditions in Contemporary Film Performance
About Jonathan J. Cavallero
Jonathan J. Cavallero is an assistant professor of communication at the University of Arkansas.