Trans-Atlantic Film as History

Discipline: Media Studies
Instructor: Dornan
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 1550
End: 1710
Field Work: Day 1 - Wednesday, 15 October | Italy Download Syllabus

Cinema strives to bear witness to the plurality and variety of human experience. Film selections for this course represent significant moments–sometimes violent, often intense–in the history and/or social issues of the countries we are visiting. Some films refer to trends or movements in those histories and many films are representative of historic moments in cinema. Most are award-winning dramas directed by in-country directors. Some are documentaries that open up discussion about countries in our itinerary. We will discuss these films and the ability of these “all-consuming images” to represent social issues as well as historic turning points. Writing assignments include a 2-3 page analysis of 14 films, two quizzes, and a longer comparative essay based largely on film theory at the end of the course. Students are responsible for viewing films through the ship’s system screened over a 24-hour period outside of class time.

Field Work

Country: Italy
Day: 1 - Wednesday, 15 October

Students will study how propaganda films are made to shape public opinion against a military campaign for WWII.  They will also view Roma, Fellini's film that shows his dread of Mussolini's rise to power.  These activities are in preparation for the field lab where we'll visit Fellini's favorite film studio, designed by Mussolini.  They will have the chance to visit Mussolini's home, also called the Casino Nobile: for 18 years, this was the family home of il Duce, his wife and their 5 children at the nominal rent of 1 lira/year. They will also go to the complex of buildings designed by Mussolini as a step toward recovering the grandeur of ancient Rome. Academic Objectives:

  1.  To discover Federico Fellini's cinematic style and influence as a film director
  2.   To explore the Fascist architecture of Cinecittá, as conceived by Mussolini
  3.   To understand the studio's rise, largely because of its connections with Fellini's huge reputation
  4.   To screen Fellini's Roma and unpack how he imaged preW-WII Italy years later
  5.   Tour of EUR district, including the outside overview of the Fascist complex designed by Mussolini and the Squared Colosseum with its Mussolini layout
  6.   To analyze a propaganda film on Mussolini, Hitler, and Tojo made by Frank Capra for the U.S. State Department