Masterworks of Italian Cinema

For generations, Italian films have been in the avant-garde of the industry. They made an early appearance when Hollywood was depicting glamorous lives in ballrooms and swimming pools, happily married couples with well behaved and impeccably dressed children, and romantic scenes that faded into an idyllic horizon when things started to get out of hand. Italians also visited some mundane themes that appealed to the masses, like the spaghetti western. However, these are not representative of Italian cinema and have hardly left a mark in the awareness of serious moviegoers. Italians were fortunate to have a generation of masterful directors whose names are legendary. De Sica, Antonioni, Risi, Visconti, Fellini, Bertolucci, and the Tavani Brothers are the Raphael, Caravaggio, Da Vinci, and Michaelangelo of Italian films. These gifted directors were not afraid to show the often brutal reality around them. They did not hide behind walls, not even veils, to show the paradoxical nature of human experience. The films reveal a very Italian twist on the approach to reality, but the themes are universal — beauty and horror, love and hate, compassion and vengeance, ambition and generosity, sacrifice and selfishness, joy and sadness, wisdom and thoughtlessness. This seminar will present a panoramic picture of Italian art and life, as it’s impossible to separate the two.

  • Group Leader(s): FRANCESCA PIANA
  • Days: Tuesdays
  • Times: 12:00 - 3:00 p.m.
  • Start Date: 10/8/2019
  • End Date: 11/26/2019
  • Sessions: 8
  • Exceptions: none
  • Venue: The Engineering Center
  • Teaching Style: Film viewing, introduction, and discussion
  • Weekly Preparation: Minimal
  • Biography:

    Francesca Piana received a B.A. and M.A. in history from the University of San Francisco. She also received an M.A. in Spanish literature at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain. She taught history, international relations, and Spanish literature at the University of San Francisco, Phillips Exeter Academy, and Phillips Academy in Andover before retiring. She was director of summer programs for Phillips Exeter and Phillips Academy in Salamanca, Spain and director of School Year Abroad in Barcelona, Spain.

  • Address: 1 Walnut Street, Boston, MA 02108