L’aggettivo donna (Collettivo femminista cinema, 1971)

July 6, 2021 at 6pm at the Spanish Academy, Rome.

In the fifth session of the Summer Intensive of In Qualche Luogo Lontano: Roma (In Some Far Place: Rome), Giovanna Zapperi will be presenting The Means of Autonomy. Women’s Documentary and Experimental Film in 1960s-1970s Italy. 

In qualche luogo lontano: Roma is the title of the program that takes place in Rome within Space is The Place/The Place is Space. This research project, initiated by Bulegoa z/b in 2018, aims to analyse the role of art as a critical practice that offers tools to stop, look and position oneself in the world, to generate situations and imagine ways of living and producing space. Structured through periodic meetings, it takes various forms, such as presentations, reading sessions, walks, actions on the territory and various artistic productions.


In a short statement written in 1978, author and feminist writer Dacia Maraini argues that cinema is based on male control over technology and on the appropriation of women’s energies and imagination. In order to overthrow these mechanisms, she continues, women need to claim technology for themselves precisely because of their forced exclusion. However, the question remained open about the adequacy of the male means of production to express women’s experiences. Considering the complex entwinement between self-representation, subjectivity and filmmaking, I propose to look at women’s documentary and experimental film in 1960s-1970s Italy. The feminist movement provided the political framework for women’s collectives and other initiatives related to cinema and the visual arts that tried to speak about women’s alienation and desires. Looking at collective as well as individual film practices, this seminar tries to map an array of interrelated issues, such as the emergence of women as a political subject in postwar Italy, the relation between cinema and autocoscienza (consciousness raising), and the significance of friendships, alliances and intimacies among women.

Giovanna Zapperi is professor for contemporary art history at University of Geneva and currently Rudolf Wittkower fellow at Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck Institute for Art History in Rome. Her latest book examines the writings of art critic and radical Italian feminist Carla Lonzi: Carla Lonzi. Un’arte della vita [Carla Lonzi: An Art of Life] Rome, 2017 (french translation: Dijon 2019). In 2019-2020, together with Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, she has curated the exhibition Defiant Muses: Delphine Seyrig and Feminist Video Collectives in France, 1970s-1980s (LaM, Lille and Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid).

In qualche luogo lontano: Roma is a project carried out in the framework of the MAEC-AECID Scholarships for Art, Education and Culture for the academic year 2020-2021 within the scholarship program for the Royal Academy of Spain in Rome.