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Fire and Ice - SCII Focus Series



Paolo Sorrentino, an award-winning director from Naples, has twice left Italy to film on location in Alpine Switzerland, once to make the film The Consequences of Love (2004) and then to make the film Youth (2015). The Swiss Alps happen to be a landscape of global financial power (the World Economic Forum is held each year in Davos, Switzerland, setting of Youth), and these Swiss films seem, at first glance, to be about privileged, isolated individuals experiencing existential crises. In an ecocritical reading of Youth, Dr. Elena Past suggests that this quirky film can also help us trace anxieties about the future of the planet, about climate change, and about cinema’s possible role in a climate-changed future.

Dr. Elena Past is Associate Professor of Italian and Associate Chair of the Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Her research includes work on the toxic waste crisis in Naples, Mediterranean cinema and ecocinema, and Italian crime fiction and film.