Postwar Italian Cinema

Module code: IT3139

Module co-ordinator: Dr Marina Spunta

Module Aims

This module explores the developments of postwar Italian cinema through the work of some of its main directors, such as Rossellini, Antonioni, Pietrangeli, Fellini, Leone, Amelio and Moretti. Students will gain an insight into the work of each of these directors, into the study of different cinematic genres and into a number of key issues that shape postwar Italian cinema and society, focusing on the question of (neo)realism, history/politics and identity, gender, language and space and landscape.

Learning Outcomes

Students will gain an understanding of different cinematic styles and of the fast socio-political developments of postwar Italy. On successful completion of the course, students will be able to apply critical skills in their analysis of film texts and to place Italian postwar cinema within its cultural context.

Teaching and Learning Methods

Classes will alternate lectures and seminars with all students working individually and in group and giving presentations.


  • 3,000-word essay (50%)
  • Three-hour exam. In the exam students cannot repeat any text/material that they covered in their essay. (50%)
  • One non-assessed presentation for each student/seminar group on a chosen film. (Films studied for the presentation can be used in the essay or exam.)

Films studied

  • Paisà (Rossellini, 1946)
  • L’avventura (Antonioni, 1960)
  • 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)
  • La visita (Pietrangeli, 1963)
  • C’era una volta il West (Leone, 1968)

You are encouraged to purchase all of the above films, and at least one of the following texts:

Key Texts

  • M Marcus, After Fellini. National cinema in the postmodern age (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002)
  • M Wood, Italian cinema (Berg, 2005)

Also recommended:

  • P Bondanella, Italian cinema. From neorealism to the present (Round House, 1999)
  • M Landy, Italian film (Cambridge University Press, 2000)