Itinerant Ecocriticism, Southern Thought, and Italian Cinema on Foot
Keywords:Franco Cassano, Italian cinema, walking, slow cinema, Southern thought
This short essay explores an impulse guiding Italian ecocriticism, and also a recurrent trend in Italian cinema: that of thinking on foot. Drawing on the work of sociologist and philosopher Franco Cassano, I consider why contemporary philosophers seek to understand Italy at a pace that works strategically (sometimes defiantly) against petroleum-fueled speed. Brief examples from three recent Italian films that proceed on foot (Basilicata Coast to Coast , La lunga strada gialla , and Il cammino dell’Appia antica ) attempt to reanimate southern Italian landscapes as “vehicles of identity, solidarity, and development” (Cassano xxxvi). Each film represents a socio-political project enabled by its walking pace; each, in turn, has the potential to unveil how these projects depend on the naturalcultural health of the landscapes being traversed. Against the “slow violence” being perpetrated on Italian landscapes—a slow violence of toxic contamination at the hand of ecomafias, of the cementification of agricultural lands and delicate coasts—and against the speed of turbocapitalism, thinking on foot enables modes of ethics and aesthetics simultaneously attuned to historical depth and ecological crisis. In this view, Italy is no longer a “bel paese,” but rather an ecocultural landscape in which the seeds for meaningful change are deeply embedded.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
a) Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal (CC BY-NC for articles and CC BY-NC-ND for creative work, unless author requests otherwise.
b) Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
c) Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).