Notturno: An atmospheric aesthetic

Damien Pollard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gianfranco Rosi’s Notturno (‘Nocturne’) (2020) lays a subtle but consistent formal emphasis on the air. In this article, I argue that Rosi’s filmmaking technique privileges patience and stasis and that it consequently allows manifestations of the air, including wind, breath, bubbles and smoke, to attain prominence in his shots. I draw on the work of Gernot Böhme, Tonino Griffero and Robert Spadoni to suggest that the emphasis Rosi places on the air grants the film a pervasive formal unity that literalizes the notion of cinematic atmosphere. I also argue that the film’s ‘atmospheric aesthetic’ offers up the air’s spatial and corporeal complexity as a formal cipher for the film’s themes of separation and connection, and that it offers a way of thinking through Notturno’s intertextual relationship to Rosi’s previous film, Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea) (2016).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-516
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Italian Cinema Media Studies
Issue number3
Early online date1 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

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