WLIT.3800: Italian Cinema: Directors and Themes


PROFESSOR: Giulia Po DeLisle, Ph.D. 

OFFICE: Coburn 102, South Campus 

OFFICE HOURS: Monday and Friday 12.00 – 1.00 pm; Tuesday and Thursday 11.00 am – 12.00, or by appointment.

E-MAIL: giulia_delisle@uml.edu 

PHONE: 978-934-4080


image from the film the mafia only kills in the summer

- From The Mafia Only Kills in the Summer


WLIT 3800: Italian Cinema: Directors and Themes

A study of Italian film history and its accomplishment by exploring the relationship of cinema to sociopolitical, economic, cultural, and literary events. The course will discuss in depth either a) one or two major and well-known directors; b) a major thematic and stylistic division in a century of cinematic creativity. Prerequisites: College Writing 2. 

This is a 3 credits course, as defined by federal regulation. You should expect to complete 6 hours of out of class work each week for approximately 15 weeks, for a total of 90 hours of outside-of-class work.

Learning Outcomes

I. To provide to the student with BREADTH OF KNOWLEDGE by examining aspects of Italian society as presented in the cinematic works proposed. The study of the films offered in this course offer students the possibility to gain a deep understanding of: 

  • Organized crime: 
    • Its origins and growth; 
    • Its impact to democracy, society and its development; 
  • Migration: 
    • How the migratory flux is shaping a new society; 
  • Questions of identity and otherness;
    • Tolerance and intolerance; 
    • Immigrant’s contribution to society. 

Cultural, political, social, and economic realities will be analyzed and compared with the respective realities in the US. The course will also analyze Italian habits and lifestyle and engender familiarity with Italians’ attitudes and perspectives regarding religion and politics. 

By analyzing the films, students will also gain a better knowledge and understanding of cinematographic techniques and genres. 

II. To provide to the student with the CRITICAL THINKING: this course requires students to apply various modes of inquiry and analysis in discerning historically accurate depictions from fictitious elements, and in compare techniques used by the filmmakers. Students must be able to synthesize vast amount of information presented in the Italian films and analyze each work from a political, sociological, anthropological and psychological perspective in order to draw valid conclusions as to the effective similarities and differences among them. 

III. CLEAR COMMUNICATION: The exams, the journals and the blackboard discussions will allow students to communicate their understanding of a broad range of issues which they have considered and researched. In addition to articulating their opinions in writing, students are expected to participate regularly in class discussion and externalize their points of view regarding Italian films. Comparing their analysis with those of fellow classmates fosters oral communication skills and allows students to defend their position before the rest of the class. Students must be able to clearly articulate their ideas regarding a rather vast amount of information presented throughout the course. Students are asked to present their essays and final papers before the class and must, of necessity, present their ideas and findings in a clear and coherent manner and be prepared to respond to questions from the audience. 

IV. To teach the student CULTURAL DIVERSITY by demonstrating the ability to compare and contrast different cultures.