Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies
Échéance des propositions : 30 avril 2021
Dirigé par Luca Barra and Valentina Re
Most of the Italian television drama able to circulate internationally belongs to the multifaceted crime genre, both in some sparse examples from the past and in growing contemporary productions (from premium channels and digital platforms to public service and commercial broadcasters). However, for many decades, only a limited range of titles has been given scholarly attention, drawing a useful yet partial account of an otherwise dense and multilayered history. Moreover, exceptions have often been studied far more than the most conventional crime series in the ‘giallo’ spectrum: most police procedurals are deemed too formulaic, or too popular, to be distinguished. Therefore, this special issue intends to overcome these limits by focusing on the historical evolution of the crime genre inside the development of Italian television, from the early stages to the latest mainstream and niche successes, and by highlighting the many crime titles that have become familiar to large Italian audiences.
Through the Italian crime drama and its evolution over the decades, an original history of Italian television and media can be easily outlined, where ‘giallo’ would often mark changes of pace, innovations, successes and failures. Already in the first twenty years of the so-called paleo-television and monopoly period, crime drama was facilitating the Italian ‘sceneggiato’’s turn towards a medium-long seriality: the investigations of ‘tenente’ Sheridan (from 1959 to 1972, first with Giallo club. Invito al poliziesco and later with Ritorna il tenente Sheridan, Sheridan squadra omicidi and Le donne del tenente Sheridan) or Le inchieste del commissario Maigret (1964-1972), starring Gino Cervi; or Nero Wolfe (1969-1971). Further on, it was crime drama that marked the transition—even the lexical transition—from ‘sceneggiato’ to ‘fiction’, with the great success of La Piovra (1984-2001). It was crime television that punctuated the golden age of public service fiction in the late Nineties: Il maresciallo Rocca (1996-2008), Il commissario Montalbano (1999-), La squadra (2000-2007) and the reassuring Don Matteo (2000-). It was crime drama that underlined the innovations of commercial networks: Distretto di polizia (2000- 2012), RIS. Delitti imperfetti (2005-2009) and Squadra antimafia. Palermo oggi (2009-2016). Once again, it was the crime genre that marked the arrival of premium original productions, first with Sky – Quo vadis, baby? (2008), Romanzo criminale. La serie (2008-2010) and Gomorra. La serie (2014-) – and later with Netflix – Suburra. La serie (2017-2020). Lastly, crime is one of the main battlegrounds for the return of Rai and Mediaset competition, innovating genres and aesthetics and establishing global partnerships, with titles like Non uccidere (2015-2018), Rocco Schiavone (2016-), La porta rossa (2016-), I bastardi di Pizzofalcone (2017-), Maltese (2017), Il cacciatore (2018) and Il processo (2019). In Italy, as in many other countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia, the entire nation is reflected in the history of its TV crime drama, mixing the reverberations of a changing society – which experiences new tensions and conflicts in terms of economic insecurity, political uncertainty, family and gender norms – with formal experiments and the shared imageries of a long-lasting, rich and always new genre.
The deadline for the submission of abstracts is 30 April. Interested contributors should send the following materials to the guest editors Luca Barra, Università di Bologna (luca.barraATunibo.it) and Valentina Re, Link Campus, Rome (v.reATunilink.it): a 500 word abstract in English of original and unpublished articles, outlining the topic, approach and theoretical bases with a relevant bibliography and filmography; and a 200 word biographical note. The accepted proposals will be notified by 31 May; completed articles should be sent by 15 October for peer-review; authors will be notified of the results of the peer-review by 15 December 2021