Double time: Facing the future in migration’s past

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Interpretations of Italian films about migration tend to refer to the historical experience of emigration or of colonialism as the historical coordinates through which these films are best understood. This article looks at four recent films featuring migrants in prominent roles that appear to elide such an interpretive framework. While the past and its intrusive effects do feature strongly in these films, it is difficult to produce a predictable linear and causal narrative that would link past, present, and future in predictable ways. Stylistically, the four films also represent a notable move away from the realist political agenda and aesthetic that has tended to dominate Italian film production on the topic of migration. This article argues that their adoption of the features that recall those of film noir (in its Italian manifestation) suggests a new range of thematic and social concerns that refer as much to possible futures as well as known pasts. There is a particular focus on the topic of bodily reproduction which is no longer limited to the sphere of the sexual. The opportunities offered by technology for the body to reproduce in new ways alters the parameters of how the nation might be imagined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalCalifornia Italian Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Migration
  • Contemporary Italian cinema
  • Visibility
  • Film/Cinema/Video Studies
  • Italian Language and Literature


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