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


This article examines the role of the transnational star in challenging stable notions of Italian identity, through an analysis of Ksenia Rappoport's performances in four Italian films, La sconosciuta/The Unknown Woman by Tornatore (2006), L'uomo che ama/The Man Who Loves by M.S. Tognazzi (2008), La doppia ora/The Double Hour by Capotondi (2009), Il padre e lo straniero/The Father and the Foreigner by R. Tognazzi (2010). Rappoport's characters display ambiguous moral identities that correspond, on the level of plot, to their uncertain national identities: they are foreign-born, yet they 'don't look' foreign and appear integrated in Italian society. Through Rappoport's 'Italian' appearance the directors destabilize firm definitions of italianitá and express the contemporary 'panic over national identity'. This apprehension encompasses the characters' subversion of gender roles and exposes the overlap between gender identity and concepts of otherness. Rappoport remains an outsider in The Father and the Foreigner, where she is the mother of a child with severe disabilities – the ultimate other in a society obsessed with physical perfection. Rappoport's work as a transnational performer thus exposes and explores the anxieties of Italian society at large about new definitions of national identity and culture in an age of global mobility and transnational migration.


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