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Lamento, ordine e subalternità in Salvatore Giuliano


In an interview with Sebastiano Gesù in 1991, Francesco Rosi claimed that, “the discourse on power includes in itself the sense of death.” By focusing on the cinematic representation of mourning rituals, I investigate the relationship between power and death in Salvatore Giuliano. Rosi’s mise en scène of mourning entails a complex intertextual play among a variety of cultural materials drawn from the history of art, literature, and Mediterranean popular traditions. Employing a theoretical framework based on the theorizations of Ernesto de Martino and Antonio Gramsci about mourning rituals and folklore, I argue that in Salvatore Giuliano the representation of women’s lament becomes an expression of “the subaltern.” To substantiate my argument, I examine two scenes from Rosi’s film, in which mourning plays two different functions. In the first scene, mourning rituals are performed by Giuliano’s mother on the corpse of her son, restoring a sense of sacredness to his dead body. In the second scene, mourning gestures give expression to the resistance of the Montelepre women against the abuses of power perpetrated by military forces against their community.

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