The Cinema of Francesco Rosi

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Francesco Rosi’s work, which includes an impressive number of individually celebrated films, occupies a unique place in postwar Italian, indeed postwar world, cinema. Over the years, Rosi has offered films that trace an intricate path between the real and the fictive, the factual and the imagined. His films show an extraordinarily consistent formal balance while representing historical events as social emblems that examine, shape, and reflect the national self. They rely on a labyrinthine narrative structure, in which the sense of an enigma replaces the unidirectional path leading ineluctably to a designated end and solution. The truth itself, so fragmented and confused, may never be discovered. Rosi’s logical investigations are conducted by an omniscient eye and translated into a cinematic approach that embraces the details of material reality with the panoramic perspective of a dispassionate observer. This study addresses Rosi’s films as mosaics fashioned out of “clips” collected from the various stages of production, most specifically from the director’s own archival materials. It examines Rosi’s creative use of film as document (and as spectacle). This is, inevitably then, a study of the specific cinematic techniques that characterize Rosi’s work and that visually, compositionally, express his vision of history and the elusive “truth” of past and present social and political realities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages344
ISBN (Electronic)9780190885632
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Civic cinema
  • Documented realism
  • Labyrinth
  • Luchino visconti
  • Neo-baroque style


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