Loose Cannons Unloaded: Popular Music, Space, and Queer Identities in the Films of Ferzan Özpetek

Elena Boschi

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    Ferzan Özpetek’s films are known for overtly breaching the subject of queer identities in Italian mainstream cinema. Popular music, however, often complicates the inclusive representations claimed by films in which queer and other non-dominant identities are visible. Where these identities are positioned and which space their members can claim are other key factors for a critical appraisal of their representations. Songs and their placement can produce different associative audiovisual combinations between Italian and non-Italian music on the one hand, and queer and other non-dominant identities on the other. The few camp songs heard where queer characters are shown outside their space and their systematic aural erasure illustrate the limited ‘audibility’ these films allow for queer identities despite their visibility. In this article, I discuss the interaction between popular music and space in the films of Ferzan Özpetek, looking at what I term ‘conditions of the audible’ and considering how these audiovisual representations can situate queer identities in the shifting landscape of Italian mainstream cinema. The way these identities are spatially and musically contained, I argue, can complicate their newly found visibility and the transnational dimension in which Özpetek’s films are often located. While Özpetek did make queer identities visible, these representations inescapably negotiate the national – a dimension where queerness remains spatially and musically contained and Othered.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)246-260
    JournalStudies in European Cinema
    Issue number3
    Early online date13 Nov 2015
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Nov 2015


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