Quand homosexualité rime avec fécondité : le rite napolitain de la figliata dei femminielli dans le film La Pelle (1981) de Liliana Cavani, adapté du roman (1949) de Curzio Malaparte
Considered immoral and unpatriotic when first published, the autobiographical fiction of La Pelle (1949) was written by Curzio Malaparte, controversial Italian novelist, known for his peculiar political path. This narrative, adapted for the cinema by Liliana Cavani in 1981, recounts Allied occupation of Naples (1943-1945) and is articulated by a series of contrasts : on the one hand, the opposition between the simple, ingenuous American winners and the defeated Neapolitans, attacked by an epidemic of moral « plague »; on the other hand, the gap between the young culture of the American soldiers and the millenary traditions of the Neapolitan people. One of those customs is the rite of the figliata dei femminielli, by which an homosexual simulates the pains of childbirth. In his novel, Malaparte suggests that despite the allied victory, the heroes of the Second World War were not able to grasp the real meaning of this ceremony which origins go back to the pre-Christian culture. The representation, in Cavani’s film, of this unusual cultural practice will be considered in this study, principally under an ethnocritical point of view.