Color photograph of the head and shoulders of Elena Past standing against a blue wall

Elena Past

Rome Prize in Modern Italian Studies
September 6, 2021–July 22, 2022
Professor, Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Wayne State University
Project title
#FilmIsAlive: Ferrania and the Lives of Analog Film in the Digital Age
Project description

#FilmIsAlive: Ferrania and the Lives of Analog Film in the Digital Age is a book-length study rooted in the environmental humanities that unearths dynamic, uncharted links between the industrial production of analog filmstock and the Italian cinematic tradition onscreen. FILM Ferrania is an iconic, century-old Italian celluloid production factory whose filmstock was beloved by renowned Italian auteurist filmmakers including Vittorio De Sica, Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Roberto Rossellini. In the digital age, the traces of its rich history are rapidly disappearing. My project safeguards an understudied part of Italy’s cinematic patrimony while shedding new light on the material history of cinema. I call on posthumanist and material ecocritical theories to illuminate Ferrania film’s vibrant “life” as resource, as memory, as cultural archive, as crumbling factory landscape, as lingering toxic trace, and as twenty-first century digital phenomenon.