The Jew as dangerous other in early Italian cinema, 1910-1914

Electronic versions


  • Gerwyn Glyn Owen

    Research areas

  • PhD, School of Creative Studies and Media


My thesis examines imagery of the Jew in four Italian silent fils: Il mercante di Venezia (Gerolamo Lo Savio, 1910), L'Inferno (Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Padovan, Giuseppe de Liuoro, 1922) Quo Vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni, 1913) and Cabiria (Giovanni Pastrone, 1914). The thesis deconstructs this filmic imagery and traces its history back to medieval and Renaissance representations of the Jew. This process reveals connections between traditional anti-Jewish ideologies and the moving images of early Italian cinema. In so doing, my thesis demonstrates that there is a powerful relationship between the socio-political and relifious discourses that were in circulation before the First World War in Italy and the presence of anti-Semitic stereotyping in these films. It also argues that the image of the Jew in all of these filmic case studies functiones as a representation of the radical dangerous Other that threatens the unity of the citizenry of the nationstate of the Kingdom of Italy and the cohesion of the Liberal Italian society at a key time of new nation building.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Thesis sponsors
  • Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol
Award date10 Mar 2014