Pages 266-286 | Published online: 05 Aug 2016 by The Italianist
The Roma endow films with a strong political resonance through their exposure to micro- and macro-level discrimination and reactionary populism in contemporary Italy. A socio-political evolution can be traced in the way new millennium Italian fiction films have depicted the Roma. Early twenty-first-century films were compromised by an ambivalence stemming from an outwardly progressive, ‘ethical’, and denunciatory impetus that was vitiated by a hegemonic, ethnocentric Italian mindset and an emphasis on tropes of Roma criminality. However, recent works including Laura Halilovic’s Io, rom romantica overcome this ambivalence through emancipatory impulses that reflect Jacques Rancière’s concept of dissensus – a disruption of society’s ‘natural’ political order and public spaces by those who have not been considered as political beings. Ernst Bloch’s writings on the utopian Not-Yet-Conscious also shed light on recent cinematic visions of progressive future configurations for the Roma within the polis, the films’ female protagonists occupying liminal positions between Roma and Italian culture.