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Unit information: Italian Cinema: Genre and Social Change (TB2) in 2020/21

Unit name Italian Cinema: Genre and Social Change (TB2)
Unit code ITAL20037
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. O'Rawe
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Italian
Faculty Faculty of Arts


The unit aims to introduce students to the study of Italian cinema through the study of the genres which compose it; genre will be used as a tool to discuss and understand processes of social change in twentieth-century Italy. Through study of particular genres, including comedy, realism and the western, the module will address issues of gender representation, the construction of the nation, and the relationship of the spectator to popular genres. Attention will also be paid to the workings of the Italian film industry, in both its national and transnational contexts.


  • To introduce students to a significant body of knowledge of a complexity appropriate to second year level.
  • To facilitate students' engagement with a body of literature, including secondary literature, texts, including in non-print media, primary sources and ideas as a basis for their own analysis and development. Many or most of these sources will be in Italian and will enhance the development of their linguistic skills.
  • To develop further skills of synthesis, analysis and independent research, building on the skills acquired in units at level C.
  • This option will help to prepare students for the experience of the Year Abroad.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit successful students will be able to demonstrate:

1) a detailed knowledge of the films studied and an understanding of their context in Italian cinematic history;

2) a knowledge of the workings of genre, its importance as a classificatory and marketing tool and its historicity (i.e. the fact that it changes in different periods);

3) an understanding of how the films studied may be related to one another, ideologically, historically, technically or thematically;

4) an understanding of the relationship between films, genres and the processes of social change in Italy;

5) skills in the formal and thematic analyses of the individual films; with some guidance in class from the tutor on the application of this analysis in groups to selected film clips;

6) understanding of and an ability to apply a range of film-critical terminology, applying it to independently researched material as well as to material introduced by the unit tutor;

7) skills in written and video presentation, at a standard appropriate to level I;

8) skills in group working to achieve a common goal.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous sessions and asynchronous activities, including seminars, lectures, and collaborative as well as self-directed learning opportunities supported by tutor consultation

Assessment Details

1 x group presentation (25%) (ILOs 1-8)

1 x 2500-word essay (75%) (ILOs 1-6)

Reading and References

Peter Bondanella, History of Italian Cinema (Continuum, 2010)

Maggie Günsberg, Italian Cinema: Gender and Genre (Palgrave, 2005)

Marcia Landy, Stardom Italian Style (Indiana University Press, 2008)

Mary Wood, Italian Cinema (Berg, 2005)