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FLM 143 — A Journey through Italian Cinema: From Neorealism to the 1960s

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 11—Mar 15
Time: 6:00—7:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jan 13
Units: 2
Tuition: $465
Instructor(s): Ericka Knudson
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
6:00—7:50 pm (PT)
Jan 11—Mar 15
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 13
2 Units
Ericka Knudson
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
As in Rossellini’s Journey to Italy (1954), this course travels through Italian cinema at one of its most influential moments in history. From neorealism to the art houses of the 1960s and beyond, we will explore iconic films by such renowned directors as De Sica, Visconti, Rossellini, Antonioni, Pasolini, Fellini, and Wertmüller. We will discuss how social, historical, and technological shifts, along with the directors’ moral convictions, inspired innovation and aesthetics that changed cinema worldwide.

Taking their cameras into the streets, the directors associated with the neorealist movement documented postwar Italy while telling stories of the working class using nonprofessional actors. This course will trace this cinematic evolution through films such as De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves and lesser-known Miracle in Milan; Rossellini’s Open City, Paisan, and Stromboli; and Fellini’s La strada. By the 1960s, a “modern” cinema emerged, reflected in the aesthetics of Antonioni, from his "Trilogy of Decadence" through Zabriskie Point, and Fellini’s La dolce vita and . We will examine the interplay of nonprofessional actors with Italian and foreign stars, and explore issues of class and sex.

With its authentic, documentary-style backdrop, Italian neorealism has continued to inspire other cinematic movements, including the French New Wave and Brazil’s Cinema Novo, and influence groundbreaking films to this day.

All films can be rented or streamed through Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play Movies, or other online platforms.

Independent Scholar

Ericka Knudson has taught courses on French film, media, and New Wave cinema at Harvard, published articles on cinema and literature, and coauthored Cultivating Creativity through World Films. She received the Certificate of Distinction and Excellence from Harvard’s Bok Center for Teaching and Learning multiple times. Knudson received a PhD in film studies from the University of Paris.

Textbooks for this course:

(Recommended) Peter Bondanella, Italian Cinema: From Neorealism to the Present (ISBN 978-0826412478)