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Italian Cinema: Individual Perspectives

Module Code: IT314
Module Name: Italian Cinema: Individual Perspectives
Module Coordinator: Professor Jenny Burns
Term 1
Module Credits: 15

Please note that seminars for this module begin on MONDAY OF WEEK 1. All students should attend on 4th October.

Module Description

Film offers a powerful medium for expressing the interior life of individuals and sometimes communities, creating images and sounds which together articulate a sense of how an individual experiences their environment, relationships, values, emotions, and sense of self in the world. The world of the individual or group is often seen to be in conflict or at odds with a wider view of what society is, and cinema has the capacity to allow the viewer to participate in the individual perspectives of its human subjects.

Italian cinema of the postwar period has a strong and varied tradition of exploring interior experience and idiosyncratic or marginalized perspectives, and of exploiting the opportunities offered by film form and technique to suggest alternative realities. In this module you will explore a range of examples of such films, from the sentimental depictions of dispossession associated with neorealism, to auteurist explorations of selfhood and creativity, to psychoanalytic studies of individuals in crisis, to the expression of anti-normative subjectivities and queer perspectives in recent cinema. You will think about how human consciousness interacts with the non-human and with the natural environment, and about how Italy is felt and seen from both 'inside' and 'outside' positions.

Tracing themes such as social exclusion, creativity, anxiety and neurosis, gender and sexuality through a selection of films from the 1940s to the 2010s, you will encounter significant figures and moments in Italian cinema history and form a sense of the interactions between them, whilst developing a complex understanding of factors which have influenced and shaped Italian cinema within Italy and globally, from both film-makers’ and spectators’ points of view.


The module is taught through a one-hour lecture each week, uploaded online in two sections, and a one-hour face-to-face seminar each week. Seminars will take place on Monday, 6-7pm, in H0.66.


1200-1500 word close analysis (30%), due Monday 22nd November (week 8)
2500-3000 word essay (70%), due Monday 10th January (term 2, week 1)

Professor Jenny Burns

J dot E dot Burns at warwick dot ac dot uk

Dr Luca Peretti

Luca dot Peretti at warwick dot ac dot uk

Essay questions