Melodramatic Materials: The Roof and The Man Next Door

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Studies of the relationship between Italian Neorealism and Latin American cinema have often been limited to political analyses, or to superficial identification of formal similarities. This article aims to move beyond these approaches, proposing a comparative reading of Vittorio De Sica’s Il tetto/The Roof (1956) and the Argentine film El hombre de al lado/The Man Next Door by Cohn and Duprat (2009) which takes as its focus debates around ideas of modernity and affect, melodrama and the interior, and the understanding of architecture as media (in Beatriz Colomina’s terms). Where De Sica’s film offers architectural modernity and its periphery as a source of escape and hope, The Man Next Door uses a historical project of modernity, a Le Corbusier house, to develop a sceptical reflection on the possibility of community. The Roof, a critically neglected Neorealist text, thus allows a fresh perspective on (post)modernity and social conflict in contemporary Argentine film.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-354
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies
Issue number3
Early online date1 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


  • Neorealism
  • melodrama
  • Vittorio De Sica
  • modernism
  • affect
  • Argentina
  • history
  • architecture

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