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ITAL2200/2201 Module Reading List

Italian Cinema: Genre and Social Change, 2019/20, Semester 1, 2
Silvia Bergamini
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

ITAL 2200/01 Italian Cinema: Genre and Social Change


(works specific to the different themes discussed during this course will be included in the relevant lecture handouts)

Annotated Reading List – the best material to start with is in bold

Bayman, Louis (ed.) (2011). Directory of world cinema : Italy (Bristol: Intellect)

- Mostly short discussions of a vast range of films but also contains short introductions to various modes, genres and other issues.

Bertellini, Giorgio (ed.), The cinema of Italy (London: Wallflower, 2004).

- Introductory readings of twenty-four films by top scholars, with a useful introduction (that however might also be disagreed with in parts) by the editor Bertellini that also briefly discusses other books on Italian cinema.

Bordwell, David, and Kristin Thompson (2001). Film Art: An Introduction 6th or subsequent editions (McGraw-Hill)

Bordwell, David, and Kristin Thompson (2003), Sections on Italian cinema in Film History: An Introduction (McGraw-Hill)

- Bordwell and Thompson are two of the most famous historians and theorists of cinema in the world. These two books are designed for students, though the material in the Film History book is sometimes a little secondhand.

Bondanella, Peter (2001). 'Italian Cinema', in Baranski and West (eds, The Cambridge Companion to Modern Italian Culture  (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 215-42

- Narrative introductory account

Bondanella, Peter (2009). A History of Italian Cinema (London: Continuum).

- This updates and replaces his previous Italian Cinema from Neorealism to the Present (available in three editions), which has been the most popular introduction to Italian cinema.

Bondanellla, Peter (2014). The Italian cinema book (London: BFI/Palgrave Macmillan)

- Many articles on different aspects, periods and issues in Italian cinema, some more accessible than others. Proof copy of whole book available on VLE.

Brunetta, Gian Piero (2009). The history of Italian cinema : a guide to Italian film from its origins to the twenty-first century  (Princeton: Princeton University Press)

- Major historian of Italian cinema. Various histories available in library in Italian. The book is a bad translation of one of his shorter books.

Dix, Andrew (2008). Beginning film studies (Manchester University Press)

Dyer, Richard (2007). ‘Italian Cinema’, in The Cinema Book, ed. by Pam Cook (London: BFI), pp. 231-2.

- Short introduction to Italian cinema with a useful emphasis on issues of genre and ‘mode’ (On the VLE)

Hayward, Susan (2000). Entry on ‘Italian neo-realism’, in Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts (London: Routledge), pp.201-4.

- Short, clear and only slightly inaccurate introduction to neorealism. Very good to give you an overview before you move onto more detailed reading. (The whole book also gives useful definitions of the key film studies concepts you will encounter in the module).

Landy, Marcia (2000). Italian Film (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)

Marcus, Millicent (1986). Italian film in the light of neorealism (Princeton: Princeton University Press)

- Classic book with an important preface and introdcution and which includes chapters on Roma, città aperta and 16 other films.

Marcus, Millicent (2002). After Fellini : national cinema in the postmodern age (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press)

Moliterno, Gino (2009). The A to Z of Italian cinema (Lanham: Scarecrow Press)

- In effect a detailed dictionary of Italian cinema that may be useful when you need to check who someone or what something is. Contains a useful essay (from p. 400) on the scholarship devoted to Italian cinema in Italian and in English.

Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey (ed.) (1995). Sections on Italian cinema in The Oxford history of world cinema (Oxford: Clarendon press)

- includes a particularly useful chapter on Italian silent cinema (all available on the VLE.

Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey (1995), The companion to Italian cinema (London: BFI)

O’Leary, Alan (forthcoming), ‘What is Italian Cinema? ’, California Italian Studies. Available online:

- An introduction to the range of Italian cinema and how it has been studied. A detailed article best read towards the end of semester 1.

O’Leary, Alan and Catherine O’Rawe (2011). ‘Against Realism: On a ‘Certain Tendency’ in Italian Film Criticism,” Journal of modern Italian studies. 16: 1, 107-19.

- Controversial polemic followed by responses from three major scholars, with a reply by O’Leary and O’Rawe to these responses.

Sorlin, Pierre (1996). Italian national cinema 1896-1996 (London: Routledge)

Wagstaff, Christopher (1996). ‘Cinema’, in Italian cultural studies : an introduction, ed. by David Forgacs and Robert Lumley (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 216-232.

-  Key text for the module. You will need to read it several times – each time you do, you will get more out of it. On the VLE.

Wagstaff, Christopher (1992). 'A Forkfull of Westerns: Industry, Audiences and the Italian Western’', in Dyer, Richard and Ginette Vincendeau (eds),  Popular European cinema  (London: Routledge), pp. 245-261

Wagstaff, Christopher (2007). Italian neorealist cinema : an aesthetic approach (Toronto: Toronto University Press)

- Massive and sometimes eccentric study of neorealism, with long analyses of three films, including Roma città aperta. Contains very useful appendices bursting with information.

Wood, Mary P. (2005). Italian cinema (Oxford: Berg)

- Excellent but sometimes difficult book which tends to assume a certain amount of knowledge already.


Semester 1:


Roma citta’ aperta (1945)

La fuggitiva (1941)

Assunta Spina; The last diva (1915)

Cabiria [videorecording] (1914)

Semester 2:

Il signor Max (1937)

Un Americano a Roma (1954)

Django (Sergio Corbucci, 1966)

C’era una volta il West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

Profondo rosso (1975)

Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto (1970)


This list was last updated on 20/09/2017