The Cinema of Paolo Sorrentino

Commitment to Style

Russell J. A. Kilbourn

Wallflower Press

The Cinema of Paolo Sorrentino

Pub Date: June 2020

ISBN: 9780231189934

272 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£25.00

Pub Date: June 2020

ISBN: 9780231189927

272 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00£74.00

Pub Date: June 2020

ISBN: 9780231548625

272 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $29.99£25.00

The Cinema of Paolo Sorrentino

Commitment to Style

Russell J. A. Kilbourn

Wallflower Press

Paolo Sorrentino, director of Il Divo (2008) and The Great Beauty (2013) and creator of the HBO series The Young Pope (2016), has emerged as one of the most compelling figures in twenty-first-century European film. From his earliest productions to his more recent transnational works, Sorrentino has paid homage to Italy’s cinematic past while telling stories of masculine characters whose sense of self seems to be on the brink of dissolution. Together with his usual collaborators (including cinematographer Luca Bigazzi and editor Cristiano Travagliolo) and actors (chief among them Toni Servillo), Sorrentino has produced an incisive depiction of the contemporary European condition by means of an often spectacular postclassical style that nevertheless continues postwar Italian film’s tradition of political commitment.

This book is a critical examination of Sorrentino’s work, focusing on his emergence as a preeminent transnational auteur. Russell J. A. Kilbourn offers close readings of Sorrentino’s feature films and television output from One Man Up (2001) to The Young Pope (2016) and Loro (2018), featuring in-depth analyses of the director’s exuberant and intensified film style. Addressing the crucial themes of Sorrentino’s output—including a masculine subject defined by a melancholic awareness of its own imminent demise, and a critique of the conventional cinematic representation of women—Kilbourn illuminates Sorrentino’s ability to suffuse postmodern elegies for the humanist worldview with a sense of social awareness and responsibility. Kilbourn also foregrounds Sorrentino’s contributions to the ongoing transformations of cinematic realism and the Italian and European art cinema traditions more broadly. The first English-language study of the acclaimed director’s oeuvre, The Cinema of Paolo Sorrentino demonstrates why he is considered one of the most dynamic figures making films today.
The Cinema of Paolo Sorrentino will be a touchstone for future work on the director. Nothing of the sort exists that engages with Sorrentino’s entire oeuvre. Kilbourn writes in a lively, clear, and engaging tone, translating concepts from a wide array of fields in a very accessible fashion. The astute and highly original analyses of Sorrentino's films will make important contributions to film genre studies, discourses around auteurism, and the stakes of transnational cinema. Dana Renga, author of Mafia Movies: A Reader

About the Author

Russell J. A. Kilbourn is professor of English and film studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. His books include Cinema, Memory, Modernity: The Representation of Memory from the Art Film to Transnational Cinema (2010) and W. G. Sebald’s Postsecular Redemption: Catastrophe with Spectator (2018).