This essay offers a feminist reading of the work of Italian film director Cecilia Mangini. Drawing on an archaeological approach, it focuses on Mangini's experience as a woman in Italian cinema and her contribution to the realization of three movies—To Arms! We're Fascists! (codirected with Lino Del Fra and Lino Micciché, 1961–62), Stalin (directed with Lino Del Fra and Franco Fortini, 1962–63), and Being Women (1963–65)—all clear examples of the counterhegemonic cinema that Mangini developed in the fissures of mainstream, male-dominated practices. In her view, nonfiction film is a tool for cultural and political struggle, and it must affect the present in order to provide democratic access to knowledge. Following the Gramscian notion of the organic intellectual, Mangini has built a specific aesthetic and a personal approach to film direction, which aims to reach the broadest audience possible and, at the same time, to develop a coherent feminist militant discourse.
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