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Speaking in class: hearing voices

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The school classroom is a site for the enactment of state policy. Consequently, it is also a site of negotiation and resistance. The classroom as a symbolic setting of social tension and interaction is clearly demonstrated in Munzi’s Saimir (2006) when the film’s main character, an Albanian teenager with no legal right of residence in Italy, is forcibly removed from his Italian girlfriend’s school. Recent films have been more circumspect in drawing such trenchant lines of exclusion, but ultimately have served to reiterate the effects of cultural difference. Both Claudia Giovannesi’s Fratelli d’Italia (2009) and Daniele Gaglianone’s La mia classe (2013) offer representations of national pedagogy in which the classroom is seen positively as a site of intercultural exchange, but also as a site of resistance to the exhorbitant conditions of integration. Set in Rome, both films are semi-scripted and feature non-professional actors. Giovannesi’s film explores the lives of three adolescent secondary school pupils of diverse national origins. It investigates (from their perspectives) the intersections of family and school, figured as a microcosm of national belonging and dissonance. La mia classe focuses on a group of multiethnic and multilingual group of adult learners of Italian, for whom the classroom intimates both possibilities of opportunity but also reminders of cultural distance. Each film ends on a moment of dystopian expulsion from the classroom, a synecdoche of the nation itself.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransnational Italian Studies
EditorsCharles Burdett, Loredana Polezzi
Place of PublicationLiverpool
PublisherLiverpool University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781789621389
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2020

Publication series

NameTransnational Modern Languages
PublisherLiverpool University Press

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