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Distributed for Intellect Ltd

Paolo Sorrentino’s Cinema and Television

With a list of critically acclaimed and award-winning films, the Naples-born director and screenwriter Paolo Sorrentino has established himself as an auteur of world renown—arguably the most successful and significant contemporary Italian filmmaker. To date, he has written and directed nine films and won an Academy Award, a BAFTA, and a Golden Globe, among others. 

This is the first English-language collection dedicated to the prolific director, who has emerged as one of the most compelling figures in twenty-first-century European cinema. International contributors—from the UK, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Australia, Israel, Canada, and the US—offer original interpretations of Sorrentino’s work in film and television. In an invaluable contribution to the existing literature, they examine Sorrentino’s recurrent grand themes, offer new perspectives and cues for discussion, and challenge established notions about the filmmaker and his career.

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"A convenient, single volume comprising the best of contemporary scholarship on Sorrentino. . . . [It] provides a provocative, wide-ranging and thought-provoking overview of Sorrentino's originality and significance. . . . The book should be of great interest to anyone concerned with Italian cinema, contemporary Italian culture, or the state of global film and television today. Sorrentino has finally achieved the recognition he deserves within academia and I am sure this exciting new collection will only serve as a spur to further scholarship."

Alex Marlow-Mann | Modern Italy

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations


Giancarlo Lombardi

Introduction: The Creative and Artistic Trajectory of Paolo Sorrentino

Annachiara Mariani


Part one: Examining and Deconstructing Sorrentino’s Ethos

Chapter 1: Private Pain/Public Places: Sights, Sightings, and Sounds of Nostalgia in Youth and The Young Pope

Ellen Nerenberg

Chapter 2: Against Postmodernism. Paolo Sorrentino and the Search for Authenticity

Mimmo Cangiano

Chapter 3: A Journey from Death to Life: Spectacular Realism and the ‘Unamendability’ of Reality in Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty

Monica Facchini

Chapter 4: Paolo Sorrentino’s Cinematic Excess

Lydia Tuan

Part two: Sorrentino’s Real and Symbolic Spaces

Chapter 5: Posthuman Sorrentino. Youth and The Great Beauty as Ecocinema

Matteo Gilebbi


Chapter 6: Interpolating the ‘blah, blah, blah’: Rome’s Vocalization Through Architecture in The Great Beauty

Alex Gammon

Chapter 7: The Great Beauty: A Journey Through Art and Relations in Search for Beauty

Michela Barisonzi

Chapter 8: The Urban Dimension as Film Character: Rome in The Great Beauty

Carla Molinari


Part three: A Journey into Sorrentino’s Psyche

Chapter 9: The ‘Primal Scene’: Memory, Redemption and (The Image of) ‘Woman’ in the Films of Paolo Sorrentino

 Russel Kilbourn

Chapter 10: Anxiety (of Influence) and (Absent) Fathers in Paolo Sorrentino

Sandra Waters

Chapter 11: ‘È solo l’alito di un vecchio’. Obscenity, Exchange Regimes, and the Catastrophe of Aging in Loro.

Nicoletta Marini-Maio


Part four: Sorrentino’s Postsecular Pope

Chapter 12: The Young Pope’s Credit Sequence: A Postsecular Allegory in Ten Paintings.

Russell Kilbourn

Chapter 13: The ‘Fabrication’ of Religion in The Young Pope: the Double Irony of Post-Secular Iconicity

Monica Jansen and Maria Bonaria Urban

Chapter 14: The Young Pope Between Television and Celebrity Studies

 Anna Manzato and Antonella Mascio

 Interview with Carlo Poggioli (costume designer of Paolo Sorrentino)

Annachiara Mariani


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