Gender in Italian Cinema from Fascism to the Third Millennium

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Course Information
Discipline(s): 
Gender Studies
Film Studies
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Credits: 
3
Language of instruction: 
Italian
Contact Hours: 
45
Prerequisites: 

No previous background in film studies is required, however the course is taught in Italian. Generally, students should have 4 or more semesters of Italian. Note that all films will be shown in Italian, with Italian subtitles if possible, and that exams, essays, and presentations are in Italian.

Additional student cost: 

None

Description: 

The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of Italian cinematic history with a special focus on gender issues. The chronological trajectory will outline the transformation of Italian society, the progressive independence of Italian women, the changing relationships between sexes, and the modification of gender roles. The course will start with an examination of the social position of women (and men) in Italy during the Fascist regime and the immediate post-WWII period and how this is reflected in film texts. We will then look at the social impact of the so-called 'miracolo economico' in the sixties, the influence of technology and politics in the seventies on both the individual and the couple, and conclude with an examination of film texts by contemporary Italian film directors, including Paolo Sorrentino, Ferzàn Ozpetek, and Luca Guadagnino.   

Attendance policy: 

Regular class attendance is mandatory. Students are expected to attend classes each day, including course-related excursions.

IES ABROAD MILANO allows a maximum of TWO excused absences per semester. Each further absence will automatically result in a penalty of two points off (2/100) on the final grade. SEVEN absences per course (including the two excused absences) will result in a failing grade for that course.  Furthermore, absence on the date of scheduled tests, presentations or quizzes does not entitle you to recover/reschedule such tests. Failure to attend your midterm and/or final exam will result in an F grade on that paper/exam.

It is your responsibility to manage your absences during the term.  If you are sick, you will need to apply your absence to the two excused absences allowed for the term.  If you use up your two excused absences for personal travel and then are sick at the end of the semester, those sick days will not be excused.  

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students are able to:

  • Analyze and critique films and film genres within their historical and cultural settings.
  • Become aware – from the female perspective - of the most significant historical and cultural routes that have passed through Italy (and Europe) over the last 70 years;
  • Retrace - through Italian cinematic history – issues of gender, sexuality, and the role of family;
  • Recognize social, economic, political and artistic movements that have affected the history of cinema and certain trends of a certain period.
  • Illustrate terminology of critical film studies in the discussion of films
Method of presentation: 

Each unit will consist of two parts:  

  1. An overview of historical, political, economic, and cultural situations portrayed by the movie,
  2. In-class guided vision of one or more parts of films/s. The teacher will introduce each movie from a historical and sociological point of view and will analyse its narrative structure, mise en scène and linguistic style through the screening of clips. Students will be expected to join the debate and express their opinion.

Copies of DVD or movie files will be available for viewing outside of class hours. We will use the flipped-class method, letting the students watch the film by themselves and dedicate the lesson time to discussions, explanations, analysis and sharing of opinions and feelings.

Two field studies to the Milan Museo del Cinema and a movie theatre will be required; guest lectures will be included as well.

Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Class Participation - 10%
  • Midterm Exam - 25%
  • Critical Summaries of Each Film - 20%
  • Oral Presentation - 20%
  • Final Paper - 25%

Class Participation
Active participation in discussions requires completing all readings, film viewings and other homework on time so that you can contribute in a meaningful way.

Midterm Exam
The midterm exam will be comprised of short-answer questions related to the themes covered during the first half of the course.  Questions may relate to specific films or ask students to compare films.

Critical summaries of each film
Students will be asked to watch 12 movies over the course of the semester and to prepare critical summaries in advance of class each week. Students will receive a set of guided questions to cover in their summaries in order to help them prepare for and understand the films, in particular the films’ connections to social, political and historical events in Italy.  Films must be watched outside of class time and will be available in the IES Abroad Milan library or via YouTube.

Oral presentation
Students will give a 10-minute presentation, in Italian, on their final paper, summarizing their analysis of their chosen films.

Final paper
2,000 – 2,500 words, in Italian) on a film, director, or specific theme addressed during the course. Students must apply the skills learned during the course to a detailed comparative analysis of 2 movies of their choice from the following list:

  1. La famiglia, by Ettore Scola, 1987
  2. Romanzo popolare, by M.Monicelli.
  3. La seconda notte di nozze, Pupi Avati, 2005
  4. Manuale d'amore, by Giovanni Veronesi, 2005
  5. Come l’ombra, by Marina Spada, 2006
  6. Vogliamo anche le rose, by Alina Marazzi. 2007
  7. Corpo celeste, by Alice Rohrwacher, 2011
  8. La finestra di fronte (2003), Saturno contro (2007), Mine vaganti (2010), by Ferzan Ozpetek.
  9. Viola di mare, by Donatella Maiorca, 2009.
  10.  Io sono l’amore, by L.Guadagnino, 2010.
content: 

This class breakdown and calendar of screenings can be adjusted, especially for discussions and field studies, according to the number of students and film distribution. Sessions can have very different durations: the teacher will make sure that they fall in the contact hours provided.

Unit Topic Content
1

Summary of the history of Italy from the Unification (1861) until today.

Film language. Cinema as an industry/business and art form. Introducing Italian cinema: distinctive features, 'genres', history, and terminology.

  • Handouts provided by teacher: Sintesi storia d’Italia, Il Fascismo, Il cinema nel regime fascista.
2

Italian women in Fascist cinema; the woman under Fascism. 

  • Gli uomini che mascalzoni (1932) by M.Camerini and, as seen by post-war authors,
  • Una giornata particolare (1977) by E.Scola.
  • Il conformista, di B. Bertolucci, (1970)
    • Handouts provided by teacher: Schede dei film, dei registi (M.Camerin, E.Scola, B.Bertolucci) e degli attori.
    • Brunetta, Gian Piero, Il cinema italiano contemporaneo, da “La dolce vita” a “Cento chiodi”, Editori Laterza, 2007: Ettore Scola, p.374-382; p.206-218: B.Bertololucci.
    • Bondanella, Peter. Italia Cinema. From neorealism to the present, Continuum, 2007, Ch.1, pgs. 1-31
3

Neorealism, War, and Italian Women: Post WWII. 

  • La ciociara by V.De Sica(1960).
  • Riso amaro (1948) by De Santis.
    • Handouts provided by teacher: Il neorealismo, Schede dei film e dei registi (V. De Sica, G. De Santis).
    • Bondanella, Peter. Italia Cinema. From neorealism to the present, Continuum, 2007, Ch.2, pgs. 32-64
4

The social impact of ‘il miracolo economico’

  • Morte a Venezia (1971) by L. Visconti
  • Deserto rosso, by M.Antonioni (1964)
    • Handouts provided by teacher: Schede dei film e dei registi (L.Visconti, M.Antonioni).
    • Brunetta, Gian Piero, Cent'anni di cinema italiano (vol.2. 'Dal 1945 ai giorni nostri'), Laterza Bari, 2004, Ch.IV and VI. 
5

The Sixties and the bourgeois woman. The notion of auteur cinema. The woman and the myth of cinema

  • Fellini's 8, e ½ (1963).
  • Pasolini’s, Teorema (1968)
    • Handouts provided by teacher: Schede dei film e dei registi (F.Fellini, P.P.Pasolini).
    • Bondanella, Peter. Italia Cinema. From neorealism to the present, Continuum, 2007, Ch.6 and 8.
    • Brunetta, Gian Piero, Il cinema italiano contemporaneo, da “La dolce vita” a “Cento chiodi”, Editori Laterza, 2007: p.196-206 (Pasolini), p.313-329 (Fellini)
6

Article 587 of the Italian Penal Code, the legal justifications of the “honor killing”

  • Divorzio all’italiana, by Pietro Germi, (1961), Sicilia.
    • Handouts provided by teacher: Schede dei film e dei registi (P.Germi, M.Monicelli).
    • Bondanella, Peter. Italia Cinema. From neorealism to the present, Continuum, 2007, Ch.5.
    • Brunetta, Gian Piero, Cent'anni di cinema italiano (vol.2. 'Dal 1945 ai giorni nostri'), Laterza Bari, 2004: Ch.2, pgs.22-38; ch.14 pgs.318-321.
7

Conflicts, cultures, and new gender roles in contemporary Italy

  • Le fate ignoranti by Ozpetek (2001)
  • Youth – La giovinezza, di P. Sorrentino (2015)
    • Handouts provided by teacher: Schede dei film e dei registi.

 

Required readings: 
  • Course pack and handouts prepared by the teacher.
  • Bondanella, Peter. Italia Cinema. From neorealism to the present, Continuum, 2007 (selected chapters).
  • Brunetta, Gian Piero, Il cinema italiano contemporaneo, da “La dolce vita” a “Cento chiodi”, Editori Laterza, 2007 (selected chapters);
  • Brunetta, Gian Piero, Cent'anni di cinema italiano (vol.2. 'Dal 1945 ai giorni nostri'), Laterza Bari, 2004 (selected sections).