From Hollywood to Cinecittà and Back: Swinging Modes in American and Italian Cinema

Antonio Monda is Professor of Film and Television in the Tisch School of the Arts of New York University, as well as a journalist and special cultural correspondent for major Italian newspapers and TV programs, in particular for La Repubblica, RAI and La7TV. He is a television and cinema director, fiction and non-fiction writer, essayist, and tireless promoter of the literary and cinematic arts. He directed Dicembre, a 1990 feature film that was presented at the Venice Film Festival and won the Carro d’oro and the Cinema giovane awards, as well as two docufilms for RAI on Jewish Culture and on Italian American culture in America. These late 1980’s television films analyze fundamental aspects of American culture, cutting through ethnic, religious, political, sociological, and artistic substrata of US culture in the 20 th -century, touching upon issues of race, social justice and cultural identity way before these matters became mainstream academic subjects. As a writer, we can at least mention his debut novel, Assoluzione (Absolution, Milan: Mondadori, 2008) and L’America non esiste (America does not Exist, Milan: Mondadori, 2012), this last one, the first of a series of novels devoted to the city of New York. Finally, we need to mention at least some of his many activities as an organizer of international cultural events. He has been the Artistic Director of the Rome Film Festival, where he has interviewed protagonists of world cinema such as Robert De Niro, Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, Quentin Tarantino, and many others; he is the co-founder of “Le conversazioni,” an international literary festival held in Italy, in Capri, every year, and the organizer of “Writers on Writers,” which, as the title explains, sees major international authors reading excerpts of their favorite writers.

In this conversation, Professor Monda discusses aesthetic, cultural and historical affinities and discrepancies between Italian and American cinema and television.