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School of Modern Languages & Cultures: Department of Italian

Italian Cinema

About this Module

This module is designed to introduce students to the historical, theoretical, and technical evolution of Italian cinematic experience from the appearance of the first Italian movie in 1895 up to the present. It is divided into seven chronological sections of three weeks each: 1. Italian silent movies (1895-1929); 2. Fascist cinema (1930-1944); 3. Italian Neo-Realism (1945-1953); 4. The golden age of Italian cinema I (1954-1962); 5. The golden age of Italian cinema II (1963-1976); 6. Italian B-movies and television culture (1977-1987); 7. The present state of the art (1988-present). Each section is articulated in an historical, a theoretical, and a monographic part, devoted to a representative director, actor, or theme. Particular stress will be placed on the hybrid dimension of the cinematic art (music, photography, theatre, fine arts), as well as on performance and generic diffraction (drama, comedy, historical movie, documentary, political and social cinema, horror, western, etc.). Prominent cultural trends, such as naturalism and decadence, avant-garde and aestheticism, realism and neo-realism, modernism and post-modernism, will be studied as they emerge in the Italian cinematic tradition and as they differ from others.

Teaching and Learning

This module will be taught by means of weekly lectures and fortnightly seminars. Extra hours for collective viewing of full-length movies will be arranged separately. Attendance will be monitored in all teaching sessions. This module will be capped at 30.

  1. Lecture (1 hour): films and related material will be presented, contextualised and examined critically, focusing on narrative development, visual aesthetics, and socio-historical context. Lectures are accompanied by handouts, PowerPoint presentations, and preparatory material included in the in-house booklet.
  2. Seminar (1 hour): emphasis is on student participation and group discussion. Seminars will involve a range of teaching and learning practices including close reading/analysis of selected clips or shots, individual and/or group presentations and class discussion. 

Summative Assessment

  • 2000-word summative essay (40%)
  • 3000-word summative essay (60%)

Set Texts 

Course material will be posted on duo

Co-ordinator: 

Dr Stefano Cracolici (stefano.cracolici@durham.ac.uk), room A15, Elvet Riverside I