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    Sixty years a celebrity auteur: Franco Zeffirelli

    Wood, Mary (2012) Sixty years a celebrity auteur: Franco Zeffirelli. Celebrity Studies 3 (2), pp. 138-149. ISSN 1939-2397.

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    The 89-year-old film-maker and designer Franco Zeffirelli is recognised for his spectacular mise en scène and professional mastery in the spheres of international cinema and opera, yet is critically despised by ‘serious’ film critics in Italy and abroad. This essay explores Zeffirelli's habitus (in Bourdieu's terms) within the field of Italian and international cinema and concludes that he differentiates himself from conventional accounts of auteur authority by his appeal to a middlebrow audience. The paper then investigates how Zeffirelli has maintained contact with this constituency over his long career. On the international front, these include the career choices he has made, the opportunities offered by new audiences thirsty for cultural capital and the technological development of new media products, such as his use of performance codes on DVD extras and reissues of his films and opera productions. On the local, rather than global, front, he maintains his Italian identity and appeal to a middlebrow constituency through a drip feed of controversial interventions in the same way as Katie Price. He is vocal in his support of Silvio Berlusconi, expresses other controversial opinions in the press and social media, and intervenes regularly in support of the Fiorentina football team. The paper concludes by identifying the precariousness of the processes by which Zeffirelli constructs himself as an auteur in old age, and the mechanisms by which his constituency remakes the authorial sign and recognises him as a celebrity auteur.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): aging, celebrity auteur, film, opera, Italian, Franco Zeffirelli
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Gender and Sexuality, Birkbeck (BiGS), Social Research, Birkbeck Institute for (BISR)
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2013 11:03
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:34


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