Dr Marco Paoli , Lecturer in Italian and Film, has recently published an article entitled ‘Carlo Lizzani’s Il gobbo (1960): A cinematic exploration of socially ‘engaged’ post-war criminality’ in the prestigious journal The Italianist (June 2012, 32/2) . His article examines the cinematic exploration of socially ‘engaged’ post-war criminality in Carlo Lizzani’s 1960 film Il gobbo (The Hunchback of Rome).

The film is a depiction of the changing nature of Italian society from the Second World War to the post-war era and highlights the different fates of individuals who attempt to integrate themselves within the evolving societal structure. The narrative of Il gobbo is set in Rome in 1944 and it is loosely based on the life of Giuseppe Albano, also known as the Gobbo del Quarticciolo (Quarticciolo is an area on the eastern outskirts of Rome), a Resistance fighter who became one of the most popular criminal figures in Rome in the immediate post-war period.

Gérard Blain in Il Gobbo

Dr Paoli argues that the director uses a range of emotional and intellectual strategies in the film, in particular the action and visual sensationalism that were typical of contemporary American cinema, to compel viewers into vividly experiencing the destiny of these individuals and to appreciate the socio-political implications of Lizzani’s often disturbing cinematic representation of this historical context. In particular, Dr Paoli focuses his analysis on the techniques that the director uses to elicit identification and empathy on the part of viewers with the film’s criminal characters such as the Hunchback, the film’s protagonist.