Great Masters of Italian Cinema After the Neorealist Age

Cross-listed with ITAL430

Fellini INTERVISTA (1987) locandina official playbill

This course aims at familiarizing students from diverse backgrounds with masterpieces by some of the most acclaimed Italian film directors from the Second World War to our day.

The films studied are classic works which explore and critically delve into (the industry would probably say “showcase”) major historical, political, or ethical themes in the three major cultural periods of the contemporary age: (a) the conflicts, the difficulty, and the downsides intrinsic to the process of modernization; (b), the discontents of modernism proper; and (c), the imbalances most recently brought about by postmodernity and/or globalization.

The comic satire, the grotesque expressionist drama, the neo-neo-realist migration film, the metaphysical poetic fable, the absurdist conte philosophique, the formally experimental art movie, the chronicle of existential anguish among the “too-wealthy-for-their-own-good,” the cinema politico of the age of grand political larceny – and then of course the great post-modern performance by the Master Without Adjectives … perhaps, the Archetypal Archetypist! For sure, from Amelio to Bertolucci, from Pasolini to Muccino, from Wertmuller to Rosi, from Germi to Antonioni, from Lattuada to … of course … Fellini … and more … as the saying goes “Italy has it all” for every taste.

All films are subtitled in English. The viewings are introduced and/or followed by presentations and discussion.

Learning Outcomes:

In successfully completing this course on great masters of Italian cinema after – and in the wake of – the Neorealist age, students come to feel at home in one of the greatest traditions of film-making in the world: a tradition that contributes to shaping the global narrative by critically delving, in a broad diversity of styles, into historical, political, ethical, or philosophical topics that are of crucial importance to understand – and attempt to improve – the world we live in.

Assignments and Evaluation:

  • midterm exam (30%)
  • final exam (55%)
  • participation (15%, which covers both attendance and its quality)

Required readings:

  • Bondanella, Peter. A History of Italian Cinema. N.Y.: Bloomsbury, 2013 (© 2009), ISBN 13: 978-1-4411-6069-0.
    • There is also a posthumous edition of this item: Bondanella, Peter, ed. by Federico Pacchioni (N.Y.: Bloomsbury, 2017), ISBN 10: 1501307630 and ISBN 13: 978-1501307638.

Prerequisite: No prerequisites

Language of instruction: English