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Volume 3, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN: 2047-7368
  • E-ISSN: 2047-7376



While scholarship increasingly positions Italian as the seminal movement in the post-war realignment towards liberal humanist democracy, the approach to early Italian television has remained rigidly national and insulated from these currents. This article examines the stylistic continuities between cinematic Neorealism and early television styles. It argues that early Italian television participated in the creation of a new notion of citizenship that was highly compatible with Neorealism’s own project for post-war Italy. Using the example of Cesare Zavattini’s documentary series Chi legge? Viaggio lungo il Tirreno/‘Who reads? A voyage along the Tyrrhenian Sea’ (1960), which abandoned traditional documentary motifs and took up what Zavattini described as popular, participatory programming’s ‘improvised humanity’, this article explores how the series restructured the engagement between subject and audience to give everyday Italians unprecedented sense of participation in national culture.


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