Document Type


Publication Date



By intertwining fictional and actual circumstances and characters from Italy’s political and cultural scene, Paolo Virzí’s Caterina va in cittá/Caterina in the Big City tells the story of the difficulties encountered by Giancarlo Iacovoni and his daughter Caterina as they strive to carve a place for themselves in Roman society. This article argues that, while seemingly upholding the meritocracy myth, the film actually challenges both the inclusiveness feigned by Italy’s right wing populists and the emancipation promises of the Left. Furthermore, it suggests that Caterina in the Big City posits a poetics of contentment as the only viable option in the face of class inequalities that are simultaneously denied and enforced by conservative and progressive elites alike.


Author accepted manuscript version of an article published by Taylor & Francis in

Emanuela Guano (2010) Social immobility and the poetics of contentment in Paolo Virzi's Caterina in the Big City, Studies in European Cinema, 7:2, 149-161,

Included in

Anthropology Commons