Wandering Women: Urban Ecologies of Italian Feminist Filmmaking explores the work of contemporary Italian women directors from feminist and ecological perspectives. Mostly relegated to the margins of the cultural scene, and concerned with women's marginality, the compelling films Wandering Women sheds light on tell stories of displacement and liminality that unfold through the act of walking in the city. The unusual emptiness of the cities that the nomadic female protagonists traverse highlights the absence of, and their wish for, life-sustaining communities. Laura Di Bianco contends that women's urban filmmaking—while articulating a claim for belonging and asserting cinematic and social agency—brings into view landscapes of the Anthropocene, where urban decay and the erasure of nature intersect with human alienation. Though a minor cinema, it is also a powerful movement of resistance against the dominant male narratives about the world we inhabit.
Based on interviews with directors, Wandering Women deepens the understanding of contemporary Italian cinemawhile enriching the field of feminist ecocritical literature.
Preface: Women Make Movies in Italy
Note on Translation
Introduction: Mapping Italian Women's Filmmaking
1. Walking in Resilient Cities: Traveling with Cecilia Fegatello: The Nightless City 2. Urban Wandering, Scrapbooking, and Filmmaking: As the Shadow, My Tomorrow, Poetry You See Me Fegatello: Ophelia Does Not Drown 3. Mothers and Daughters: Stories of Survival and Care: The White Space, I Like to Work Fegatello: All About You 4. Coming of Age in the City: Garbage, Corpses, and Miracles: Corpo Celeste, Domenica, Lost Kisses Fegatello: The Macaluso Sisters 5. A Psychogeology of the City: N-Able Fegatello: In This World Epilogue: The Cities of Women
Laura Di Bianco is Assistant Professor of Italian Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
"Laura Di Bianco combines ecocritical and feminist perspectives with acute awareness of social inequalities as she travels through the landscape of contemporary women's cinema in Italy. For its interdisciplinary outlook, Wandering Women will be of great interest to readers in Italian studies, gender studies, and environmental humanities. They will discover eight remarkable women film directors spanning three generations, who treat the urban environment as a living ecology."—Giuliana Bruno, Harvard University, author of Streetwalking on a Ruined Map
"Wandering Women invites readers on a lively voyage through Italian urban environments, from Milan to Rome, from Naples to Taranto and Reggio Calabria, following a dynamic canon of films made by Italian women directors. Addressing questions of ideology, geography, ecology, and aesthetics, Di Bianco's engrossing book examines figures both on screen and behind the scenes, showing how innovative filmmakers and their films reciprocally shape cinematic, urban, and affective places. This groundbreaking study is built on Di Bianco's deep knowledge of cinematic history and its many protagonists—directors, production crews, cities, ecologies, landscapes. Wandering Women is a convivial, generative conversation across generations of filmmakers. It is an innovative and timely treatise on ecology, cinema, and the Anthropocene in Italy, one that is destined to become a landmark in Italian film studies."—Elena Past, author of Italian Ecocinema Beyond the Human
"Wandering Women is a study of contemporary Italian women's cinema. It offers insightful analysis of the work of 8 different filmmakers, many of whom have been vastly underrepresented in extant scholarship, through a feminist and material ecocritical lens. Starting from the premise that women filmmakers have remained marginal figures in mainstream Italian cinema, just as women are marginalized in Italian culture at large, the manuscript examines a set of what the author calls 'nomadic narratives'—stories of female protagonists ambulating through largely urban spaces as they contemplate both sense of self and sense of place."—Monica Seger, author of Landscapes in Between: Environmental Change in Modern Italian Literature and Film
"Di Bianco focuses on the act of walking and, in particular, walking the city in order to look at how female characters move and cinematographically 'become' subjects in urban environments. Their walking in the city is witnessed through the lens of ecocriticism applied to liminal spaces that critically witness the landscape of the Anthropocene: The urban space as a privileged male space. That's why each chapter begins with a view from above as women become observers and a male world is the object of a severe gaze mediated through conversations between the critic (Di Bianco) and the film makers."—Graziella Parati, author of New Perspectives in Italian Cultural Studies, Volumes 1 and 2