courses > 2005 spring

Elective Courses

CINE 240 - Films of Fellini

ITAL 322
401 | MW 3-4:30pm

When Fellini died on October 31, 1993, he was given a funeral equal in scale and solemnity to those reserved for religious leaders and heads of state. "Fellini was one of those extraordinary artists who created our second Renaissance: the great Italian cinema of the postwar era" claimed screenwriter and author Tonino Guerra. According to journalist Alan Cowell, "what he gave Italy, people said, was the sum of their dreams and fantasies and sins, encased in an artistry that helped define the nation's self-image, at home and abroad." In this course, we will consider Fellini's entire cinematic production in the following terms: 1. as a progressive autobiographical account of one idiosyncratic life, raised to the level of allegorical significance by virtue of its universal concerns and its stylistic virtuosity; 2. as a critical reflection of, and causal factor in, the creation of an Italian national identity, both for domestic and international consumption; 3. as a summa of postwar Italian filmmaking, from neorealism (he collaborated in Rossellini's ground-breaking Città aperta in 1945) to postmodernism (as exemplified by his last film, La voce della luna in 1990). The course will involve a chronological study of Fellini's production, beginning with his apprenticeship as cartoonist and gag writer for humor magazines and radio shows before he began to collaborate on screenplays for the pre-eminent neorealist filmmakers. We will then study a film a week (screened outside class time) and will devote our class periods to in-depth analysis of the works and their critical reception. The films will all be in Italian with English subtitles and the classes will be conducted in English. Students with expertise in Italian are expected to write their essays in the language, and are encouraged to read and share with the class important secondary source material emanating from Italy that is not yet available in translation.