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Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2047-7368
  • E-ISSN: 2047-7376


This article analyses Donatella Maiorca's films Viol@ (1998) and Viola di mare/ Sea Purple (2009) in the context of contemporary Italian and transcultural debate about cinema and sexual and gendered identities, with reference to cinematic devices and gender theory. It places Maiorca's film-making in the broader context of national cinema and illustrates her films' common themes and stylistic traits, in spite of their numerous differences. It focuses specifically on the construction, deconstruction and metamorphoses of gendered identities and bodies in both films. Viol@ and Sea Purple present provocative explorations of transgressive sexual practices: they engage critically with the interconnection between society, power and gendered identities in the eras they depict and in modern Italy. I argue that the protagonists are simultaneously subjected to powerful normative gazes and act as subjects of the gaze and desire. By embracing unstable gender identities and non-normative sexualities, these characters acquire a degree of agency and self-determination and thereby the future possibility of becoming. This article aims to contribute to current transnational conversations on Italian women's cinema and cultural representations of gender and sexuality in Italy.


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