Wednesday, May 29 2024

I’m not sure if anyone would dare to translate Armando Fumagalli’s latest
book, but it would clearly be worth it. Creatività al potere: da Hollywood
alla Pixar passando per l’Italia, edizioni Lindau 2013 (Power to
Creativity: From Hollywood to Pixar, through Italy ) is an excellent and
useful read for anyone trying to navigate the jungle of the contemporary
audiovisual industry.

Fumagalli dissects the American paradigm and contrasts it with Europe
(particularly with Italy) to expose it to this unprecedented model of
managing creativity: Pixar. It is the most successful company in the
history of cinema; the only one capable of putting out, as of now, 13
blockbusters without fail. Pixar is an atypical business not only due to
its numbers but the philosophy behind it.

If we give a closer look at the table of contents, we see that the book
starts with the Storytelling (cinema, television, literature), in order to
fluidly analyze what is Hollywood and how it works: the majors, the agents,
etc., but not only. It also analyzes the “soul” of Hollywood: ethnicities,
cultures, ideologies… Positive aspects are highlighted, but negative
dimensions are equally identified, for example in the section “Why
Hollywood Wins and Why it could Lose”. From there, the link is made between
cinema and television, in the US and in Italy. The last and lengthiest
chapter is dedicated to Pixar as an alternative model.

The book contains an ample bibliography and the endnotes after each chapter
aren’t wasted. Fumagalli knows his stuff. His thorough documentation is
supported by his hands-on experience in the audiovisual field (working many
years as a consultant for Lux Vide), as well as his numerous professional
interviews and trips to the most important global film production centers
in Shanghai, Hollywood, and San Francisco (in whose suburbs is the small
city of Emeryville, home to Pixar’s headquarters).

In short, it’s a read that doesn’t disappoint nor does it lose sight of
film’s double dimension as art and industry.

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