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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 four parts of four weeks each: Part 1. Heroes and Divas; Part 2. Human Reality; Part 3. Cityscapes; and Part 4. Love and Death. The remaining two weeks are devoted to student presentations on topics covered in the final paper. 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. Advanced instructions on how to write an essay on a cinematic topic will be provided during the seminars.

Teaching and Learning

This module will be taught by means of weekly lectures and fortnightly seminars. This module is capped at 30.

  1. Lecture (50 min): module material will be presented, contextualised and examined critically, focusing on the historical and cultural developments of the major themes embodied in the different texts. Lectures are accompanied by hand-outs, PowerPoint presentations, and preparatory material included on DUO.
  2. Seminar (50 min): emphasis is on student participation and group discussion. Seminars will involve a range of teaching and learning practices including close filmic reading/analysis, individual and/or group presentations, but will mostly devoted to class discussion.

Summative Assessment

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

Set Texts

  • Gian Piero Brunetta, The history of Italian cinema: a guide to Italian film from its origins to the twenty-first century, translated by Jeremy Parzen. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009
  • Material posted on DUO and/or on the reserve shelves in the Bill Bryson Library.

Co-ordinator 

Dr Stefano Cracolici (stefano.cracolici@durham.ac.uk), Office A15, Elvet Riverside I
Dr Katrin Wehling-Giorgi (katrin.wehling-giorgi@durham.ac.uk), Office ER281, Elvet Riverside II