Perry Anderson, one of the most astute commenters on Italy, on the emergence of that country's doughnut-hole cultural landscape:
The case of the cinema, where Italy had above all excelled after the war, can be taken as emblematic. There was no relay of the generation of great directors – Rossellini, Visconti, Antonioni – who had made their debut in the 1940s or early 1950s, and whose last important works cluster in the early 1960s. Missing thereafter was any combustible crossing of avant-garde with popular forms to compare with Godard in France or Fassbinder in Germany; later on, only the weak brew of Nanni Moretti. The result was a gap so large between educated and popular sensibilities that the country was left more or less defenceless against the cultural counter-revolution of Berlusconi’s television empire, saturating the popular imaginary with a tidal wave of the crassest idiocies and fantasies – schlock so wretched the very term would be too kind for them.