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Rossana Capitano

Current Research

Visconti, Neorealism and the Italian Communist Party: politics and aesthetics in Visconti's films 1943-1964.

My research examines Luchino Visconti's films along three main strands: the PCI's cultural policies, film aesthetics and the politics of casting.

Starting with Ossessione (1943) and ending with Il Gattopardo/The Leopard (1963) my project covers a period in which the PCI was promoting neorealism and was engaged in debates on how to harness popular culture. My project will explore Visconti’s films in connection with these debates within the PCI and this will include analysis of Visconti’s films as critical-political events.

Part of this project will connect with contemporary theory and debates on film aesthetics and politics, to re-think the decorative in Visconti and challenge the opposition of progressive versus regressive aesthetics. This section will involve close film analysis and, where possible, use of primary documents to explore Visconti’s relations with set and costume designers.

Casting was crucially significant for Visconti and his choices of actors often encountered producer’s objections. I will explore Visconti’s politics of casting and scrutinise the aims and intentions behind his decisions.

Supervisors: Professor Stephen Gundle and Dr Karl Schoonover.


I hold a BA (1st Class) in Sociology and Media Studies from the University of Rome La Sapienza. I followed this with a year of postgraduate research at the Italian Department of UCL, funded with a scholarship I was awarded from La Sapienza.

Over the years I have worked as a researcher for the BFI (Visconti’s The Leopard and Pasolini’s Teorema) as well as for a number of independent film projects.

I started my PhD at Warwick in 2017 and have been awarded an EU Chancellor’s Scholarship.


In the Spring term 2019 I will be assisting Dr Jon Burrows, taking seminars for the first-year undergraduate module Film History.



La Terra Trema (1948)

Il Gattopardo (1963)