Diana Karenne was one of the most interesting personalities in the Italian and European film scenes of the early 1900s. Star, actress, intellectual, artist, director, screenwriter, and producer, she is representative of an effectual coexistence between two different ways of considering a woman’s role in both the film industry and in a society that was undergoing deep changes as to gender boundaries (Guerra 2008, 39; Pravadelli 2014, 5; Vicarelli 2007, 13). Through her artistic career, she supported demands concerning female identity, widely felt between 1800 and 1900 (Bianchi 1969, 190): in this very period, Europe was facing a process of modernization and large transformations at every social level. Karenne never took sides towards women’s emancipation movements, yet she opposed conservative morals and social conventions of that time through her personal, aesthetic, and professional choices (Gaines 2008, 20), and helped to update the idea of cinema thanks to her bold artistic proposals and acting style (Bianchi 192).
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