The Politicity of Netflix: Opportunities and Contradictions of Digital
Distribution through the Case of Sulla Mia Pelle
| COMUNICAZIONI SOCIALI - 2021 - 2
This article looks at the increasingly central role played by Netflix, global leader in subscription video on demand (SVOD) television, as producer and distributor of original films, and the implications that this has for national film industries. The article applies a theoretical framework rooted in political-economy and combines it with studies of contemporary Italian political cinema. In terms of methodology, the article relies on case study analysis, and focuses one specific country, Italy, and one relevant film production, Sulla Mia Pelle/On My Skin (2018, dir. Alessio Cremonini). Sulla Mia Pelle, which recounts one of the most controversial stories in Italy’s recent history, the death of a young man under police custody, is of the first national features to have day-anddate release in theatres and via Netflix. The article argues that the politicity of Sulla Mia Pelle, and notably its political subject and the political-economic framework underpinning its release, were instrumental in prompting the strong reactions that came from various Italian film industry stakeholders: above all, a boycott from the main film exhibitors associations and a policymaking intervention by the Italian Minister of Culture. The politicity of Sulla Mia Pelle provides this case with unique characteristics, but it also makes it an exemplary illustration of the complex interplay between global SVOD providers and national film industries.