27867 - Cinema and Cultural Studies (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Michele Fadda

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-ART/06

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Course Timetable from Mar 12, 2018 to May 04, 2018

Academic Year 2017/2018

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will acquire a knowledge of the close connection between the product and the culture producing it. Not only from an historicist point of view contextualizing the film (or novel or something else) in a precise time, but also considering what it allows to find, in the most neglected details of the work, significant traces of a culture that was not intended to be evoked, but nevertheless it is part of it.

Course contents

The presence of voice in American cinema – This course will deal, among others, with the following thematic blocks: image-sound relationship; voice in cinema; orality in American culture; mass media and secondary orality; song in Hollywood cinema; off-screen voice and film narrative forms; voice and actoriality (male and female) in Hollywood cinema; the forms of dialogue in cinema; signifying and forms of African-American orality in cinema.


Lecture notes with a selection of essays will be available at Harpo's, via Barberia, starting from the beginning of the course.

The lectures will refer, among other things, to the following filmography:

Lonely Villa (D. W. Griffith, 1909)

The Jazz Singer (Il cantante di jazz, A. Crosland, 1927)

The Coconauts (R. Florey, 1929)

Alleluja! (K. Vidor, 1929)

The Public Enemy (Nemico pubblico, W. A. Wellman, 1931)

Grand Hotel (E. Goulding, 1932)

Design for Living (Partita a quattro, E. Lubitsch, 1933)

Shall We Dance (Voglio danzare con te, M. Sandrich, 1937)

The River (P. Lorentz, 1938)

Young Mr Lincoln (Alba di gloria, J. Ford, 1939)

Stagecoach (Ombre rosse, J. Ford, 1939)

Mr Smith Goes to Washington (Mr. Smith va a Washington, F. Capra, 1939)

His Girl Friday (La signora del venerdì, H. Hawks 1940)

Citizen Kane (Quarto potere, O. Welles, 1941)

The Magnificient Ambersons (L'orgoglio degli Amberson, O. Welles, 1942)

Cat People (Il bacio della pantera, J. Tourner, 1942)

Cabin in the Sky (Due cuori in cielo, V. Minnelli, 1943)

Double Indemnity (La fiamma del peccato, B. Wilder, 1944)

Sorry Wrong Number (Il terrore corre sul filo, A. Litvak, 1948)

Letter From An Unknown Woman (Lettera da una sconosciuta, M. Ophuls, 1948)

The Day the Earth Stood Still (Ultimatum alla Terra, R. Wise, 1951)

Singing in the Rain (Cantando sotto la pioggia, S. Donen, G. Kelly, 1952)

Artist and Models (Artisti e modelle, F. Tashlin, 1955)

The Joker is Wild (Il jolly è impazzito, C. Vidor, 1957)

Imitation of Life (Lo specchio della vita, D. Sirk, 1959)

Psycho (A. Hitchcock, 1960)

Clockwork Orange (A Clockwork Orange, S. Kubrick, 1971)

The Conversation (La conversazione, F. F. Coppola, 1974)

American Graffiti (G. Lucas, 1974)

Nashville (R. Altman, 1975)

Do the Right Thing (Fa' la cosa giusta, S. Lee, 1989)

N.B. Non-attending students are required to take an interview and study one of the following texts:

F. La Polla, L'età dell'occhio. Il cinema e la cultura americana, Lindau, Torino, 1999.

Krin Gabbard, Jammin' at the Margins. Jazz and the American Cinema, Chicago, 1996;

Peter Stainfield, Body and Soul. Jazz, Blues and Race in American Film, University of Illinois Press, 2005

F. La Polla, Ombre americane.
Regia, interpretazione, narrazione a Hollywood tra storia e cultura nazionale, Bonomia Up, Bologna 2008

- F. La Polla, Stili americani, Bononia UP, Bononia UP, Bologna, 2003.

Lary May, Screening Out the Past. The Birth of Mass Culture and the Motion Picture Industry, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1980

Lary May, The Big Tomorrow. Hollywood and the Politics of the American Way, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 2000

- S. Bernardi, Il paesaggio nel cinema italiano, Marsilio, Venezia, 2003.

D. Forgacs, S. Gundle, Cultura di massa e società italiana. 1936-1954, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2007

F. Jameson, Firme del visibile, Roma, Donzelli, 2003

- Robert B. Ray, How a Film Theory Got Lost, and Other Mysteries in Cultural Studies, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2001

- P. Sorlin, Cinema e identità europea, La Nuova Italia, Firenze, 2001.

Elena Mosconi, L'impressione del film. Contributi per una storia culturale del cinema italinao, Milano, Vita e pensiero, 2006

Miriam Hansen, Babele e Bailonia. Il cinema muto americano e il suo spettatore, Torino, Kaplan, 2006

J. Fell, Film and the Narrative Tradition, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1986

- R. Slotkin, Gunfighter Nation, The Myth of the Frontier in 20th Century America, Univ.of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1998.

- R. Keller Simon, Trash Culture. Popular Culture and the Great Tradition, Univ. of California Press, Berkeley, 1999

Henry Jenkins, Cultura convergente, Bologna, Apogeo, 2007

Rosalind Galt, The New European Cinema, New York, Columbia University Press, 2006

Jim Collins,Architectures of Excess. Cultural Life in the Information Age, New York, Routledge, 1995.

Teaching methods

Lectures with supporting materials

Of course, this methodological approach (as the subject itself) requires not only specific knowledge in the strictly cinematic context, but also a substantial knowledge of the culture/s in which the film has been produced.

Students are recommended to attend the course, this being a great advantage, since there are no teaching manuals related to this subject, so its basics will be dealt with and exemplified during the course. N.B. Students are expected to know English so well to be able to read academic essays in such language.

Assessment methods

Students are required to submit a final essay of about 20 sheet (2000 characters each, spaces included) on a topic at their choice and concerning the monograph part contents (to be agreed with the teacher at his Office hours). The essay shall be submitted for correction within 14 days of the date in which students wish to sit the examination. N.B. Non-attending students shall also take an oral examination (see bibliography).

It will be assessed as excellent the performance of those students achieving an organic vision of the course contents, the use of a proper specific language, the originality of the reflection as well as the familiarity with the historiographic tolls for analysing the subject.

It will be assessed as discrete the performance of those students showing mostly mechanical or mnemonic knowledge of the subject, not articulated synthesis and analysis capabilities, a correct but not always appropriate language, as well as a scholastic study of the discipline. It will be assessed as barely sufficient the performance of those students showing learning gaps, inappropriate language, lack of knowledge of the discipline. It will be assessed as insufficient the performance of those students showing learning gaps, inappropriate language, no orientation within the recommended bibliography and inability to analyse the subject.

Teaching tools

The study of the cases will be supported by audio-visual material.

Office hours

See the website of Michele Fadda