Televisual nostalgia and the famous female body in 1970s’ Italy

25 May

This is going to be my paper at the SIS Biennial conference in Hull at the end of June. At least I hope it’s going to be! Ideas are still percolating…

I’m going back to Milleluci (1974). The famous female bodies in question are Mina (of course) and Raffaella Carrà. They were the hosts of the eight-episode series that aired on RAI’s Programma Nazionale every Saturday evening from March 16th to May 11th 1974. The series was the brainchild of Antonello Falqui. Each episode celebrated a different variety genre:

Radio (with Alberto Rabagliati, Franca Valeri, Nilla Pizzi, Corrado, Gorni Kramer, Jula de Palma)

Café chantant (with Monica Vitti)

Revue (with Erminio Macario, Nino Taranto, Gino Bramieri, Wanda Osiris)

Television (with Mike Bongiorno, Adriano Celentano, Alberto Lupo, the Kessler twins)

Curtain raiser (with Franco and Ciccio, Toni Ucci, Aldo Fabrizi, Tino Scotti)

Cabaret (with Gianfranco D’Angelo, Paolo Villaggio, Paolo Poli, Cochi and Renato)

Musical (with Gianrico Tedeschi)

Operetta, Circus and Musical Comedy (with Giustino Durano, Ave Ninchi, Luigi Palchetti, Emilio Pericoli, Moira Orfei, Renato Rascel)


On first watch of the series, I did not know what to make of it. The nostalgia on display shows a certain enthusiasm for how things used to be, a desire for simplicity for cultural forms and culture/leisure, a nostalgia for la leggerezza in its own right. There is an apparent innocence in these recollections and a sense of escapism, with a longing for a for a ‘certain’ Italy and ‘innocent humour’. Given the historical context of the anni di piombo in the 1970s, perhaps this is not surprising. Nostalgia also appears as a pastime on the show. Overall, television is presented as ‘la grande mamma’ and there is a celebration of a certain enforced, ritualised, collective nostalgia here.

What I will be focusing on in my presentation is the way in which the famous female bodies of Mina and Carrà are the stages upon which this nostalgia plays out, is performed and is given meaning. Both stars bring with them their own televisual histories and meanings, that interact with their gender and the nostalgia that is showcased on the show.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to enjoy re-watching Milleluci courtesy of RaiPlay:

Milleluci Mina Carra Kessler twins

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Posted by on May 25, 2017 in Uncategorized


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