One of the most acclaimed filmmakers of the so-called ‘new Italian cinema’, Silvio Soldini’s early films were recognized by critics for their artistic and cinematic value, but it was his first comedy, Pane e tulipani (Bread and Tulips) in 2000, that won him international recognition and success at the box office.
This ground-breaking book is the first extensive study on Soldini in English, and the first in depth interdisciplinary analysis on his works and of Soldini’s position as a major filmmaker whose films cite cinematic traditions while astutely observing and critiquing aspects of contemporary Italian realities. The book traces his career from his first student film, Drimage, to his documentary and shorts, and his feature films culminating in the 2004 comedy Agatha and the Storm.
The title of his feature film Drimage, is an invented word which intersects the notions of dream, image and age. By replacing ‘age’ with ‘voyage’ this study proposes an alternative triad – dream-image-voyage – that embraces elements found across Soldini’s works. In discussing each of these terms, connections are drawn between them and Soldini’s evolving relationship with landscape, characters, language, music and literary and cinematic inter-texts. His narratives travel across actual geographic landscapes, as well as landscapes of dreams and visions, venturing beyond familiar borders in their protagonists’ search for new ways of being. All of Soldini’s works can be read as variations on the theme of the road movie: they promote mobility over stasis and record and represent life as a continual journey that leads to re-readings of identity, of the contemporary landscape and of conventional notions of home.