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transnationalism, nostalgia, migration, colonialism, America, documentary, Italian western, Gianfranco Pannone


The article examines Gianfranco Pannone’s ‘American Trilogy’ – Piccola America. Gente del Nord a Sud di Roma/‘Little America. People from the North to the South of Rome’ (1991), Lettere dall’America/‘Letters from America’ (1995) and L’America a Roma/‘America in Rome’ (1998) – showing how the trilogy employs the documentary genre not only as a way to inform the audience, but to question the way in which imagination shapes reality and vice versa. First, Lettere dall’America is examined in light of the topos of letter writing in other literary and cinematic works featuring the Italian emigration to the United States. Second, the article analyses how the migration from north-east Italy to the Pontine Marshes in central Italy is represented in Piccola America. Third, I discuss how L’America a Roma highlights the presence of southern migrants interpreting Mexicans in Italian westerns. Pannone uses documentaries to interrogate the fictional construction of America, and questions the view that narratives of migration are the reflection of ‘real’ experiences. Investigating the connection between nostalgia and the narration of history, this article also shows how the presence of a nostalgic vein in the trilogy is aimed at rethinking ‘Italian’ national history in a transnational dimension.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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