Portrait of Dr Maurizio Cinquegrani

Dr Maurizio Cinquegrani

Senior Lecturer
Associate Dean (Internationalisation and Student Experience)

About

I received my PhD in Film Studies from King's College London in 2010, with a thesis on early British cinema and urban space. I have an MA in Contemporary Cinema Cultures from King's College London and a BA in Film Studies from University of Bologna.

I joined Film Studies at the University of Kent in September 2012, having previously taught at London Metropolitan University, Birkbeck College, and King's College London. In 2011 I participated in the Camden Town Group in Context research project at Tate Britain with a contribution looking at the relationship between early film practices and the work of Walter Sickert, Malcolm Drummond and other artists. In 2012 I have also worked as filmic cartographer at the University of Liverpool in an AHRC-funded research project entitled Cinematic Geographies of Battersea: Urban Interface & Site-Specific Spatial Knowledge.

My principal research interest lies in the relationship between cinema and urban life. My work is predominantly in the area of non-fiction films including early actuality films, documentaries and amateur films, and focuses on British Cinema and other European national cinemas. I have also published articles on Scandinavian cinema in the silent era and the philology of film.

Research interests

My research primarily investigates the relationship between film, space and memory. In 2018 I published a book entitled Journey to Poland: Documentary Landscapes of the Holocaust (Edinburgh University Press) on the cinematic geographies of the Holocaust focusing on the place of film practices in relation to other ways to organise, memorialise, monumentalise and preserve specific environments connected with the Holocaust. The book explores a diverse range of films, including archival footage from the 1940s and post-war documentaries, with a transnational focus on both Polish films and international productions filmed in Poland.

My first monograph, Of Empire and the City: Remapping Early British Cinema, was published by Peter Lang in 2014. This book explores the cinematic representation of urban spaces in films produced in Britain during the period 1895-1914. Employing a historical and geographical methodology which equally takes into account studies of early film, of cinema and the city, of British urban history, and of the history of the British Empire, I concentrate on actuality films of London, Manchester and Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Dublin and the colonial cities. My articles and chapters exploring the relationship between British cinema and the city have appeared on Nineteenth-Century ContextsEarly Popular Visual CultureJournal of British Cinema and Television, and the anthology The City and the Moving Image: Urban Projections (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

I am also working on Italian Cinema and the Great War; my main concern lies in the ways in which the landscape of the Italian Front has been re-experienced through film in different historical and political contexts, and in relation to later battle landscapes, including the Second World War and the so-called Years of Lead.

Teaching

In 2019/2020 I convene Film Histories, Documentary Cinema and Film Authorship. I always aim to provide the opportunity for both undergraduate and postgraduate students to take an active part in research-led learning. In my courses students are exposed to the ideas of a diverse range of scholars, learn to carry out their own research and experience enquiry-based learning. Students are invited to take ownership of their scholarly work and, while they gain more independence, they are supported by a research-active lecturer whose real-life research experience informs the content of the course.

Supervision

I am interested in supervising doctoral students in diverse research projects related to the study of space and film, both from an historical and a theoretical perspective. In particular I welcome proposals on early films, documentaries, and the relationship between memory, cinema and the city, both in relation to urban cultures and built environment. I am particularly interested in the national contexts of Britain, Italy, Sweden and Poland, and in film reflecting the events of the two world wars and the Cold War. I also supervise Practice as Research doctoral projects.

Professional

Editorial committee of the journal Immagine. Note di Storia del Cinema

Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society

Publications

Article

  • Cinquegrani, M. (2019). Agnafit. Anima Loci [Webpage]. Available at: https://animaloci.org/agnafit/.
    Agnafit – the historical location where Stockholm was founded – is here only a faint echo, and yet its essence quietly permeates this visit to the Swedish capital. Film locations that have become ingrained within a fictitious city coexist here with the mundane reality of the background. Images and roads fleetingly merge into each other, only to pave the way for the emergence of a new spatial experience.
  • Cinquegrani, M. (2018). Multidirectional Sites of Memory in Italian Holocaust Documentaries. Apparatus. Film, Media and Digital Cultures of Central and Eastern Europe [Online]. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.17892/app.2016.0003.132.
    This article investigates the ways in which film can use the act of witnessing and the exploration of significant locations in order to exhume memories of the deportation of Italian Jews to Auschwitz in 1943-1944. It aims at doing so by focusing on the neglected area of study provided by Italian documentaries about the Holocaust. In particular the article addresses two documentary films where testimonial performances and topographical investigation will be analysed by means of the conceptualisations of site of memory and multidirectional memory.
  • Cinquegrani, M. (2016). The cinematic city and the destruction of Lublin’s Jews. Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History [Online] 22:244-255. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17504902.2016.1148872.
    The name of the city of Lublin resounds as a distant place on map of Europe during the Second World War and, insofar as the study of film and the Holocaust is concerned, Lublin has entirely slipped under the radar as an understudied subject of investigation. This article aims at filling this gap and discusses the role of this city in the Final Solution by means of a study of its cinematic image and that of the concentration and extermination camp of Majdanek, at the outskirts of Lublin.
  • Cinquegrani, M. (2011). ‘A fit of absence of mind’?: Empire and Urban Life. Early Popular Visual Culture [Online] 9:325-336. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17460654.2011.621322.
    This article assembles a narrative of imperialist influences on the city and its cinematic representation in actuality films of China and South Africa. Industrialization and technological progress redefined western urban cultures, and film captured on the screen these expressions of modern life in the city. Modern imperialism, on the other hand, emerged as part of a culture of modernisation in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and played a significant part in the definition of narratives of British modernity. In early non-fiction films, imperialism was a discourse which legitimised Britain as a country whose superiority over colonised peoples was a cultural foundation of its modernity. In an era when anxiety about slum conditions and urban degeneration coexisted with state-managed urban development, imperialism was one of the dominant discourses to emerge from films of British and colonial cities. It was present in the films, but other aspects of the society were not. Early cinema evaded crucial topics such as urban poverty and perpetuated an ideological view of reality seen through the eyes of middle-class filmmakers unconcerned with urban deprivation. Nevertheless, their films reveal aspects of the nature of urban society, and record the importance of self-regulation and movement in the city. This investigation aims at contextualizing this governance of conduct as it emerged from the business of movement in the cities of the empire, and the order within this movement.
  • Cinquegrani, M. (2010). Travel Cinematography and the Indian City: The Imperial Spectacle of Geography at the End of the Long Nineteenth Century. Nineteenth-Century Contexts [Online] 32:65-78. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08905491003704053.
    This article looks at the ways in which early films, as much as photography and colonial exhibitions, transported the spectators to a version of India existing in great part as the creation of unchecked British imagination. Late Victorians and Edwardians stepped into this exotic world through different media, and cinematic exposure to the East would soon dominate visual culture and consolidate the East as a product of European imagination.It investigates the ways in which at the end of the so-called long nineteenth century a very Victorian passion for geographical spectacle migrated to early films of urban spaces in colonized territories, and reassess the part played by early films in the imperial project by investigating the cinematic image of Indian cities between 1895 and 1914.
  • Cinquegrani, M. (2009). The Nexus of the Empire: Early Actuality Films of London at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. Journal of British Cinema and Television [Online] 6:207-219. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/E1743452109000880.
    The study of early cinema has often focused on the modernity of the medium and seldom on the imperial forces which shaped and were represented in films. By bringing together the domains of urban sociology and imperial history, this article aims at discussing experiences of urban modernity and of Empire as they are reflected in early actuality films of London. By making the urban experience visible, early films of the London contribute to a topographical understanding of the modern urban space and create a visual map of the city. This article illustrates the ways in which the city was unavoidably rooted in the culture of the Empire and represented by a new medium expressing both its formal novelty – and insofar a break from exisitng modes of representation – and themes and images that had already emerged from pre-existing media.

Book

  • Cinquegrani, M. (2018). Journey to Poland: Documentary Landscapes of the Holocaust. [Online]. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press. Available at: https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-journey-to-poland.html.
    Journey to Poland addresses crucial issues of memory and history in relation to the Holocaust as it unfolded in the territories of the Second Polish Republic. Aiming to understand the ways past events inform present-day landscapes, and the way in which we engage with memory, witnessing and representation, the book creates a coherent cinematic map of this landscape through the study of previously neglected film and TV documentaries that focus on survivors and bystanders, as well as on members of the post-war generation. Applying a spatial and geographical approach to a debate previously organised around other frameworks of analysis, Journey to Poland uncovers vital new perspectives on the Holocaust.
  • Cinquegrani, M. (2014). Of Empire and the City: Remapping Early British Cinema. [Online]. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3726/978-3-0353-0585-2.
    This book explores the cinematic representation of the city in British film from 1895 to 1914, featuring depictions of London, Glasgow, Dublin, Delhi and other British colonial cities. The author argues that the films are not only an invaluable record of the economic, social and cultural life of these cities but also that the spatial organization of these urban areas, and the cinematic representations of them, were shaped by the ideology and activity of imperialism. The pioneer camera operators who made these early films often put forward an imperialist ideology by paying particular attention to the cinematic representation of monumental and ceremonial spaces, modern communication and transport within the city and between the city and the empire. Of Empire and the City establishes connections between these cities and their cinematic representation by means of continuous motifs and themes, including modernity, Orientalism, spectatorship and the imperial subject. The book makes a unique contribution to studies of early film, British urban history and the history of the British Empire.
    «This is a highly original and genuinely groundbreaking piece of scholarship on early British cinema. Very little work on this subject to date has sought to contextualise films of the 1890s and 1900s within the broader field of the history of imperialism. Cinquegrani's book systematically corrects this ‘blind spot’, and in its use of a wide range of ideas and methodologies […] it offers a compelling new model for future scholarship on British cinema of the silent era.» (Dr Jon Burrows, Associate Professor, Department of Film and Television Studies, University of Warwick)

Book section

  • Cinquegrani, M. (2018). The Holocaust and the Cinematic Landscapes of Postmemory in Lithuania, Hungary and Ukraine. In: Bayman, L. and Pinazza, N. eds. Journeys on Screen: Theory, Ethics, Aesthetics. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 118-129.
  • Cinquegrani, M. (2018). О других кинопространствах: документальный фильм о Холокосте как коллекция [Of Other Cinematic Spaces: the Holocaust Documentary as a Collection]. In: Polyakova, I. and Suvorova, T. eds. Коллекция в пространстве культуры [Collection in the Space of Culture]. Kaliningrad, Russia: Музей янтаря, pp. 17-26.
    This paper explores Holocaust documentaries which combine present-day filming with
    archival footage from the 1930s representing the Polish villages where the Jews lived before the
    Nazis invaded Poland. The concept of heterotopia, as it was articulated by Michel Foucault in the
    article “Of other spaces”, is used here to establish a connection between conventional museum
    collections and the collections of images from various eras which are displayed in these documentaries.
    In doing so, this chapter investigates issues of memory, nostalgia and representation
    with the support of a framework of analysis that focuses on the ways in which certain places are
    constructed on various layers of meaning and relationships to other spaces.
  • Cinquegrani, M. (2017). The Cinematic Shtetl as a Site of Postmemory. In: Penz, F. and Koeck, R. eds. Cinematic Urban Geographies. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 137-154. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-46084-4.
  • Cinquegrani, M. (2015). Shadows of Shadows: the Undead in Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema. In: Leeder, M. ed. Cinematic Ghosts. Bloomsbury, pp. 129-142. Available at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/cinematic-ghosts-9781628922158/.
    Reminiscent of earlier haunted screens in Swedish cinema, Ingmar Bergman’s ghosts and his fantasies of spectrality emerge with close ties to a broader series of cultural influences. Bergman’s spectral presences, as this chapter aims to demonstrate, are complex presences echoing gothic and pagan traditions, national and international literature. At times mere hallucinations dissolving into thin air, Bergman’s ghosts can also be corporeal and animated dead bodies. This characteristic is reminiscent of a pre-gothic narrative tradition provided by Scandinavian and Icelandic sagas, where spectres inhabit the barrows in which they were enclosed and that are known as draugr or haugbúi. They leave their burial sites to prey on men and maintain intellect and a residual personality. This chapter thus aims at an in-depth reassessment of this aspect of Bergman’s cinema and his narratives eerily populated by spectral presences caused by disturbances in the acts of dying and grieving.
  • Cinquegrani, M. (2014). Place, Time and Memory in Italian Cinema of the Great War. In: Löschnigg, M. and Sokolowska-Paryz, M. eds. The Great War in Post-Memory Literature and Film. Berin, Germany: De Gruyter, pp. 321-334. Available at: http://www.degruyter.com/view/product/429217.
    This chapter investigates Italian cinema and the First World War by comparing films made during the war, in the fascist era and after the Second World War. It focus on the ways in which the events have been portrayed in different epochs, and the broader issue of the long lasting impact of war on landscape and culture.
  • Cinquegrani, M. (2011). Tutto quello che è solido si dissolve nell’aria: scioperi persi, immagini perdute e ritrovate. In: Bursi, G. and Venturini, S. eds. Quel Che Brucia Non Ritorna. Udine, Italy: Campanotto Editore, pp. 238-249. Available at: http://www.campanottoeditore.com/vedilibro.php?pagina=vetrinaelenco.php&idlibro=1925.
  • Cinquegrani, M. (2010). The Cinematic Production of Iconic Spaces in Early Films of London. In: Koeck, R. and Roberts, L. eds. The City and the Moving Image: Urban Projections. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 169-182.
    This chapter investigates the relationship between films and exhibitions in London, including newly-built museums, the Crystal Palace and the London Zoo. In particular, it addresses the emergence of exotic or colonial subjects and themes, and the display of technological novelties. In the nineteenth century, a binary opposition between modernity and tradition defined the geographical imagination of the Victorians: this chapter reveals an imaginative landscape of urban culture and the interaction between display and colonial imperialism.
  • Cinquegrani, M. (2006). Victor Sjöström: Prima dell’età dell’oro. In: Cinquegrani, M. and Canosa, M. eds. La Natura Non Indifferente: Il Cinema Svedese Di Victor Sjöström. Cineteca di Bologna, pp. 20-44.
  • Cinquegrani, M. (2006). Sjöström, Seastrom. Carteggi Hollywoodiani. In: Cinquegrani, M. and Canosa, M. eds. La Natura Non Indifferente Il Cinema Svedese Di Victor Sjöström. Bologna, Italy: Cineteca di Bologna, pp. 63-70.
  • Cinquegrani, M. (2006). Thinking Silent Cinema and Philology: The Case of Victor Sjöström’s The Strike. In: North-West Passage. Turin University Press, pp. 105-128.

Edited book

  • Cinquegrani, M. and Canosa, M. eds. (2006). La Natura Non Indifferente: Il Cinema Svedese Di Victor Sjöström. Bologna, Italy: Cineteca di Bologna.

Internet publication

  • Cinquegrani, M. (2011). Empire and the City: Early Films of London [Online article]. Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/camden-town-group/maurizio-cinquegrani-empire-and-the-city-early-films-of-london-r1104356.
    Charles Ginner painted Piccadilly Circus in 1912, but urban landmarks were normally avoided by the Camden Town Group artists. Nevetheless, the modernity of the imperial city equally emerges from films of its landmarks and from paintings of an urban experience that was less concerned with imperial iconography, and instead with interiors, suburban streets and gardens.
    By comparing the subjects of early films and the paintings of the Camden Town Group of impressionist artists, this articles argues for a shift in focus in the study of early cinema and the city. So far the focus has primarily been on the modernity of the medium and seldom on the imperial forces which shaped cinema and were represented in films. This articles aims to fill a gap in current understanding.

Thesis

  • Kalentzi, E. (2016). The New US Soldier: The Patriot Superhero, the Disillusioned Drop Out and the Burned Out Gamer. The Development of the Hollywood War Film After 2010 through the Archetypal Character of the US Soldier.
    This study is intended to demonstrate how the image of the US soldier is presented and changes in Hollywood war films from 2010 until the present day, specifically the ones dealing with the conflicts in the Middle East. Previous academic studies have looked at these films, focusing on American soldier and the character's role within the war genre, and concluded that the Iraq War film proved to be critically and financially a failure. This study looks at Iraq War films after 2010 in order to find whether this trend continues into the next decade and whether the genre shows any signs of evolution. Through the character of the US soldier, their politics, motivations and role within the conflicts in the Middle East, it aims to find out, whether the genre is developing towards originality and realism or toward the evasion of harsh facts and headed towards myth. To achieve these aims the primary materials that will be used are feature films, chosen by their main subject and their use of war genre conventions; the secondary sources, used to back up conclusions, range from soldier's autobiographies to cinema studies. Both types of sources are used to present a complete picture of the films discussed, put them in social and historical context and through analysis of mise-en-scene, dialogue, imagery, and themes this study wants to show that the image of the US soldier fighting in the Middle East reflects real anxieties present among the population. The final conclusion of this paper provides very interesting insights on the current films about the Middle Eastern conflicts and signs that the genre has begun to change.
Last updated