In conjunction with the Black History Month celebrations, the University of Toronto’s Department of Italian Studies and Cinema Studies Institute, in collaboration with the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, will hold a screening of Lola Colt: Faccia a faccia con El Diablo (1967), followed by a panel discussion on the film and its star, African-American singer, dancer, and actress Lola Falana. The 35mm film print of the spaghetti western directed by Siro Marcellini is held in the University’s Mastrangelo Collection. The panelists include: Jessica L. Harris (Visiting Assistant Professor of History, Allegheny College), Jessica Whitehead (Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto), and Christina Stewart (Assistant Media Archivist, University of Toronto). The event will kick off a mini retrospective of Italian-Style Westerns that will continue in March, April, and May at the Royal Cinema.
Lola Colt is a unique film in that it puts two categories typically on the fringes of the Western genre (both American and Italian), gender and race, at the front and center of the narrative. These two elements combine to produce the film’s protagonist, Lola Gaye, played by Falana. As such, the film offers the audience insight into perceptions and understandings of blackness, and its intersection with gender, in late 1960s Italy, including the persistence of Fascist racial discourse, and (African) American cultural imperialism after the Second World War. The panel discussion will explore these issues as well as how they manifest themselves in contemporary Italian society, culture, and politics. Furthermore, it will provide information on the Mastrangelo Collection and the transnational transmission of Italian culture through films.