Giacomo Lichtner

AProf Giacomo Lichtner profile picture

Associate Dean (Students) Wellngton Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


Teaching in 2020

Research interests

Film and history, memory, Holocaust, France, Italy


  • BA Hons, PhD Reading


Giacomo was born in Rome and moved to England in 1996 to study History at the University of Reading, first for his BA (Hons) and then for his PhD under the supervision of Nicholas Atkin and David Laven.

Giacomo is currently the Associate Dean (Students) in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Research areas

Giacomo wrote his PhD thesis of the representation of the Holocaust in French and Italian cinema. The resulting book, Film and the Shoah in France and Italy, was published by Vallentine-Mitchell in May 2008 with a foreword by Richard Bosworth. The work assesses the role of cinema in the development of a national memory of the Holocaust in these countries. By analysing key films and their reception, the book demonstrates how artistic and commercial choices reflected or challenged dominant ideas about the Holocaust (you can read a review here from Holocaust and Genocide Studies: 2009, 23(3):503-506).

Giacomo's latest book, published by Palgrave Macmillan, is a longue-durée study of filmic representations of Italian fascism since 1945, with case studies on neo-realism, the Commedia all'Italiana, Bertolucci, the political filmmakers on the 1970s and the tv-movies of the Berlusconi era. You can read a review here. Giacomo's article 'The Age of Innocence: Child Narratives and Italian Holocaust Films', won the 2012 Christopher Seton-Watson Memorial Prize for the best article in the journal Modern Italy.

Giacomo is a cultural historian of Modern Europe with a theoretical interest in cinema as a privileged mediator between history and memory. He can supervise research in the following fields:

  • Theoretical approaches to Film and History
  • Topics in Modern European History/Cinema, especially around the memory and representation of the 'long second world war'
  • Topics in Modern Italian History/Cinema
  • Post-1945 French History/Cinema
  • Propaganda, especially in interwar Europe
  • Postcolonial Cinema, especially constructions of national identity in Indian, Australian and New Zealand historical film.

Selected publications

  • Fascism in Italian Cinema Since 1945: the Politics and Aesthetics of Memory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
  • Film and the Shoah in France and Italy (Vallentine Mitchell, 2008).
  • ‘La Vita è Bella ad Auschwitz: luogo della memoria e dell’amnesia’, Cinema e Storia no. 2 (2013).
  • ‘The Age of Innocence: Child Narratives and Italian Holocaust Films’, Special Issue: Italy and the Emotions, Modern Italy, Vol. 17, no. 2 (2012) 197-208.
  • ‘Allegory, Applicability or Alibi? Historicising Intolerance in Ettore Scola’s Concorrenza Sleale’, Journal of Modern Italian Studies, Vol. 17, no. 1 (2012) 99-105.
  • ‘Fascism in Italian Cinema: Notes Towards a Historical Reconsideration’, ‘Special Issue: Italian Studies in New Zealand’, Studi d’italianistica nell’Africa australe, Vol. 24, no. 1 (2011).
  • ‘Kaddish’, in Marco Sonzogni ed., This Way: Covering/Uncovering Tadeusz Borowski’s This Way to the Gas Ladies and Gentlemen, Dunmore Publishing, Wellington, 2011.
  • With Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, ‘Indian Cinema and the politics of history: Earth and Lagaan’, Asian Survey Vol. 48 no.:3 (2008) 431-452.


Teaching in 2020