Southern Realities and Emotions: Francesco Rosi’s Cultural Voyages

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


At the entrance of Guardia Perticara (Potenza), a large mural, dedicated to Francesco Rosi and the making of Cristo si è fermato a Eboli (Christ Stopped at Eboli, 1979), welcomes the occasional tourist. In 1978, Rosi traveled to Lucania to film Carlo Levi’s memoir of the same title. For the Turinese Levi, his journey to Aliano, a village rising among picturesque ravines, led to an unexpected revelation of “history outside history, and time out of time,” as he later wrote to Giulio Einaudi, his publisher (Levi, Cristo si è fermato a Eboli, Einaudi, 1990, xviii). For Rosi, it was another film driven by the director’s deeply felt connection to the real life of the South. But between the critical director of the earlier films, who claimed that he made “documented” films on a certain reality of life, now surfaced an artist acting out a personal drama. While Rosi was location scouting for Cristo si è fermato a Eboli, Aldo Moro was kidnapped by the Red Brigades. The country was on the verge of disaster. For the Neapolitan director, the tragedy of terrorism became an anguished daily concern. Consequently, he addressed gli anni di piombo (the years of lead) in Tre fratelli (Three Brothers, Rosi 1981), his next film, set in the rural landscape of the Murge. What is impressive about Rosi’s fifteen feature films (out of seventeen) challenge entrenched Southern customs and taboos. This chapter unfolds over a series of Southern encounters in Rosi’s cinema, focusing in particular on the representation of real spaces/emotional spaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBasilicata and Southern Italy between Film and Ecology
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9783031135736
ISBN (Print)9783031135729
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


  • Carlo Levi
  • La porta del Sud
  • Lucania
  • Mezzogiorno
  • cinema as witness


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