Susanna Nicchiarelli's Cosmonauta: The Space Race, or When Communist Girls Dreamed of the Moon
Italian Political Cinema: Public Life, Imaginary, and Identity in Contemporary Italian Film
Susanna Nicchiarelli's first feature, Cosmonauta (2009) is a historical teen movie set at the time of the Space Race between Soviet Union and the United State. Luciana (Miriana Raschilla), the rebellious fifteen-year-old protagonist, claims feminist agency and political space in her personal life and in her neighbourhood's Federation of Italian Communist Youth (FGCI). She proudly tells her mother Rasalba (Claudia Pandolfi) that she is happy to have a room of her own, evoking Virginia Woolf's seminal text. She speaks to one of her classmates, Fiorella (Chiara Arrighi), about the political role of women in the class struggle and convinces her to join the group. Luciana follows the lead of her double adult character, her mentor and communist activist Marisa (Susanna Nicchiarelli), who guides her through the selection to represent the youth section of the local Unione Donne in Italia (UDI) in a journey to Moscow with the Italian Communist delegation. In one of the final scenes of the movie, Marisa reads to Luciana a newspaper article about the first female cosmonaut, Valentina Tereshkova, on a Soviet space mission: 'Valentina smiles and the women on Earth, too, filled with hope that isn't utopia anymore. Would they all like to go to the Moon? They simply want to have the freedom to choose their destiny, like her'. Inspired by this conclusion, Marisa smiles at Luciana and says: 'This is our victory'.
Marini-Maio, Nicoletta. "Susanna Nicchiarelli's Cosmonauta: The Space Race, or When Communist Girls Dreamed of the Moon." In Italian Political Cinema: Public Life, Imaginary, and Identity in Contemporary Italian Film, edited by Giancarlo Lombardi and Christian Uva, 279-289. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang, 2016.