Antonio Covi: An Institutionalized Militant for the Emergence of Film Culture
Keywords:Archive, Catholicism, Film Criticism, Film Culture, Glocal
Padua, 30s. A young Antonio Covi contributed to making the city’s Film Club possible by playing a crucial role as a cinephile militant amongst public debates, filmmaking experiences, and film critics mainly published in local journals. In less than a decade, he obtained his Literature degree with a dissertation on film aesthetic in 1940, attended then film courses at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, and, finally, he joined the Jesuits Society in August 1945. The Ignatian confreres immediately acknowledge his aptitude for film and arts, enough for obtaining pivotal roles in Jesuit cultural policies over the years. This step from “militancy” toward “institution” allowed him to embrace national perspectives, establishing him as a reference point for Catholics in film knowledge widespread both in the Fifties and Sixties. During these two decades, father Covi published several articles and essays on film criticism and aesthetics, led the Antonianum Cineforum in Padua and film courses throughout Italy, and ran a local film production company. Film criticism as a form of cultural diplomacy and education represents the thread for all these activities. The paper aims to point out Antonio Covi’s contribution to Italy’s film culture from the 1930s to the 1960s. Firstly, by questioning the shift from “militancy” to “institution” and his role as a film critic during those years. Secondly, by underlying his discourses on film knowledge spread over national and local journals, books, public statements, and film courses as well, proposing, therefore, a diagnostic analysis of terms and themes he dealt with.
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