It introduces how the Italian cinema of the 1970s experienced a proliferation of sexualised images as never before, and a wide-ranging interrogation of masculinity, with a number of films beginning to question the definitional boundaries demarcating a socially acceptable male identity and the exclusions inevitably produced by such boundaries. The chapter establishes how and why masculinity became a central concern in Italian films of the 1970s by discussing some of the political and cultural transformations taking place in Italy during these years. It will examine in particular the legacy of 1968, the students’ and workers’ protests, feminism and the gay liberation movement - and their impact on cinematic representations of men and gender relations. The chapter will also provide an analysis of the particular industrial contexts in which Italian cinema of the 1970s functioned with particular reference to shifts in cinema-going habits and in censorship regulations.
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