Celebration for Dr. Mary Ann Carolan’s Award-Winning Book, March 27

Celebration for Dr. Mary Ann Carolan’s Award-Winning Book, March 27

book jacket

Orienting Italy: China through the Lens of Italian Filmmakers, by Dr. Mary Ann Carolan

Orienting Italy: China through the Lens of Italian Filmmakers won the 2022 Book Award for Performance and Visual Culture presented by the American Association of Teachers of Italian.

Please join the College of Arts and Sciences for a celebration of the publication of Orienting Italy: China through the Lens of Italian Filmmakerswritten by Mary Ann Carolan, PhD, professor of modern languages and literatures and founding director of the Italian Studies program, on Monday, March 27 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Kelley Center Presentation Room.

This book, published by SUNY Press in September 2022 and winner of the 2022 Book Award for Performance and Visual Culture from the American Association of Teachers of Italian, explores contemporary Italian filmmakers' fascination with China and the Chinese in both documentary and fictional films.

"In Orienting Italy Mary Ann Carolan has achieved a difficult task in the humanistic and interdisciplinary scholarship on Italy and China," said Gaoheng Zhang of the University of British Columbia. "She has provided an eminently readable and yet well-contextualized text on major Italian films about mainland China and Chinese in diaspora. This is the first book in any language that offers an at once panoramic and close-up view of Italian cinematic representations of China from the late 1950s to the early 2010s. Carolan considers both documentary and fiction films, and both widely viewed major productions and little-known gems, carefully explaining the filmmakers' diverse experiences with China. This is a must-read for anyone with an interest in understanding the Italian tradition of screening China and Chinese people over the past few decades."

Orienting Italy begins by considering documentaries shot in China in the 1950s and 1970s by Carlo Lizzani and Michelangelo Antonioni as a way of offering the West images of this physically and culturally remote land. The investigation continues with Bernardo Bertolucci’s Academy Award-winning view of a historical Middle Kingdom in The Last Emperor (1987) and Gianni Amelio's stark depiction of Italian economic exchange with contemporary China in The Missing Star (2006).

Dr. Carolan's book concludes with both fictional tales and documentaries that recount the wave of Chinese migration to Italy in the late 20th century in the works of Stefano Incerti (Gorbaciof, 2010) and Andrea Segre (Shun Li and the Poet, 2011) and Riccardo Cremona and Vincenzo De Cecco (Miss Little China, 2009). Today, a new chapter in the relationship between Italy and China has emerged in the form of transnational collaborations in the art and business of filmmaking.

This event, which is sponsored by the Humanities Institute, the Department of Modern Languages & Literatures, and the Italian Studies Program, is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

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