Of postfeminist girls and fireflies: Consuming Rome in Un giorno speciale
© The Author(s) 2016. This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from SAGE via the DOI in this record.
For Pasolini the extinction of the firefly symbolized the disappearance of any popular resistance into the homogeneity of consumer culture. However, Francesca Comencini revitalizes the symbolic potential of the firefly for Rome through an engagement with the Italian postfeminist girl in her 2012 film Un giorno speciale. Made in the wake of the Berlusconi scandals, the film mobilizes a familiar set of dichotomies to express nostalgia for the clarity of a second-wave feminist vision: margins and center, authenticity and artifice, rebellion and conformity, agency and coercion. However, in blending more popular cultural forms with familiar apocalyptical readings of the cityscape, the film also marks significant shifts in interpretations of the cityscape and its association with the body politic through the degraded female figure. Recognition of the ambiguities of postfeminist culture, expressed through the motif of ‘girl power,’ reframes spatial dichotomies of artifice and authenticity. The film puts questions of branding and performance at the center of the debate about Italy’s future. Rome emerges as a postmodern cityscape (Trentin, 2013), in which the girl can nonetheless embody intermittently the symbolic potential of the elusive ‘firefly.’
This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Vol. 50, No. 1, pp. 166-182