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Sex, survival and la dolce vita: Neorealist to Contemporary Italian Film (level 6)


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Dr Nicolette David
  • Assessment: two 3000-word essays (50% each)

Module description

In this module we study developments in Italian film from the post-war period onwards and explore different strands and defining moments in Italian film-making:

  • Italian Neorealism, studying films by two major directors who epitomised that movement: Rossellini and De Sica
  • six short Neorealist films by Antonion, Fellini, Lizzani, Risi, Lattuada, Zavattini and Masella
  • the Golden Age of Italian Cinema: iconic films by Antonioni, Pasolini and Fellini
  • exciting and innovative developments in contemporary Italian film: the work of Benigni, Özpetek, Rohrwacher and Sorrentino.

We will also examine and study the relationship between these strands in Italian film-making and the political and cultural contexts in the post-war period from which they arose. We aim constantly to work towards an understanding of the forces that shaped Italian cinema and continue to do so up until the present day.

You will develop skills in the analysis of film at thematic and stylistic levels and learn to understand and to apply theoretical and methodological approaches appropriate to the study of film in Italy.

All films studied will be in Italian with English subtitles.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • understand developments in film history in post-war Italy from 1945 up until the present day
  • have gained relevant factual knowledge about the directors, films, contexts and issues under discussion
  • be able to evaluate films at a thematic and a stylistic level
  • understand the political and social context from which the films have arisen
  • understand a range of theoretical and methodological approaches (especially for the analysis of visual material such as film)
  • be able to work within these theoretical frameworks in the interpretation of films and contexts.