By Blake Backlash
There is a scene in Vittorio De Sica’s Il Boom where a number of well-to-do Italians dance to a band who are performing the tackier sort of early 60s pop song. The lyrics are sung in English. That same quality of a cheap import is imbued in the title of the film. Whereas most European countries created a label in their own language to denote their rapid, post-war economic growth (it is hard to think of a word less German than Wirtschaftswunder), the Italian media co-opted their term from English. ‘Il Boom’ has connotations of something messy and uncontrollable, while at the same time seeming voguish and silly, perhaps even meaningless. Such associations suit De Sica’s satire – which is interested in showing us the empty spaces that might be concealed by the ostentatious sixties prosperity.