This course presents a historical overview of the major film movements, films, and directors, and of the
relationship between the region’s cinemas, history, and culture since 1945. Focusing on the principal film industries of France, Italy, Spain, Greece, and North Africa, the course draws comparisons and parallels between historic and contemporary cinema practices, and developments in history and society. Films include: Army of Shadows, Mediterraneo, All About My Mother, The Battle of Algiers, Alexandria Why?, etc.
Field WorkCountry: Italy
Day: 3 - Civitavecchia - Friday, 26 July
July 26 (Civitavecchia, Italy) The class will visit the largest and longest-operating film studio in Europe: Rome’s “Cinecittà” (or “Cinema City.”) The focus of our class is, in part, to understand the historical importance of the cinema in many European societies as a cultural product and as a marker (or maker) of national identity. There is no representative of the historical, social, and political importance of cinema in Europe that is more iconic than Cinecittà. Not only was the studio the brainchild of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, but it has been the production site of many of the greatest (and biggest) movies ever made from many major film industries in the world. Home to Ben-Hur, La Dolce Vita, Gangs of New York, HBO’s Rome, The Godfather Part III, and the most important epics of Italian cinema, Cinecittà is one of the most active movie studios in the world. The field lab has two main foci. The first is a visit to the outdoor sets of Gangs of New York, Italian Villas, and 15th Century Florence for a comparative analysis of the “the world viewed” by the cinema and “the real world,” and a discussion of Cinecittà’s role in the articulation of Italian “culture” and the Italian nation (as socially “manufactured” concepts). The second focus is an architectural discussion of the Cinecittà buildings and sites, with emphasis on the “rationalist” and “fascist” styles of architecture that distinguish the studios. We will discuss how these styles permeate the films in our schedule. Academic Objectives
- Students will see the logistics of a working movie studio (not a park or “ride”).
- Analysis of motion picture technology/settings and its relation to real city/landscape and spaces.
- Discussion and recreation of European cinema styles/movements on real locations.