Migrant Memories provides an innovative perspective on the power of cultural memory and the influence of cinema on the Italian diaspora in Britain. Based on extensive interviews with Southern Italian migrants and their children, this study offers a fresh understanding of the migrants’ journey from Italy to Britain since the early 1950s. The volume examines how the experience of contemporary Italian identity has been mediated through film, photography and popular culture through the generations. Beginning with an analysis of the films of Frank Capra and Anthony Minghella, the book goes on to address the popular melodramas of Raffaello Matarazzo and ultimately argues that cinema, and the memory of it, had a significant influence on the identity formation of first-generation Italians in Britain. Coupled with this analysis of cinema’s relationship to migration, the cultural memory of the Italian diaspora is explored through traditions of education, religion, marriage and cuisine. The volume highlights the complexities of cultural history and migration at a time when debates about immigration in Britain have become politically and culturally urgent.
Margherita Sprio is Senior Lecturer in Film History and Theory at the University of Westminster. She studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths (University of London) and the Slade School of Art (University College London) and then worked as an artist internationally before completing her PhD at Goldsmiths. She works on film practice and theory as well as the relationship of film theory to photography, contemporary art and philosophy. Her particular research interests relate to the politics of art and the moving image, globalisation and diaspora, cultural/sexual difference and transnationalism.