Food Consumption in Ferzan Ozpetek’s Hamam and Luca Guadagnino’s Io sono l’amore: A Gender Issue

Patrizia Sambuco


Within the wide range of scholarly works on food studies, the topic of food and cinema has gained increasing attention in recent years. This article contributes to the discussion offering a gender per­spective in the analysis of Italian films. It examines cinematic represen­tations of food consumption in Ferzan Ozpetek’s Hamam and Luca Guadagnino’s Io sono l’amore. Food consumption is a means of look­ing at self-identity and the relationship of the individual to the outside world. Eating implies taking part of the outside world inside, and as such it involves not only nutrition for the body but invests the sub­ject with cultural meanings. As a result, the analysis of food consump­tion lends itself to an examination of cultural gender dynamics that influence representations. Through a gender reading of specific scenes, the article argues that in spite of the apparent representations of inde­pendent, successful female protagonists who dare to challenge social conventions, the films considered contribute to the reinforcement of traditional gender constructions. Claude Fischler’s and Pasi Falk’s theo­ries of food consumption help to uncover how the sensory and aesthetic dimensions prevail in the representations of the women protagonists of the films analysed. The female protagonists’ relationship to the outside world remains an individual one, experienced at the sensory level, that cannot express the radical and collective transformations available to the male protagonists.

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