Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Claudio Mazzola
C LIT 315
Seattle Campus

National Cinemas

Examines the cinema of a particular national, ethnic or cultural group, with films typically shown in the original language with subtitles. Topics reflect themes and trends in the national cinema being studied.

Class description

This course focuses on the effects on Italian cinema of the spread of commercial television in Italy in the mid-seventies. Since the beginning (1954), Italian television had been primarily an educational tool in the hands of the State. Programming was primarily focused on elevating the masses from a level of ignorance and disinformation, almost unknown in other parts of Europe (in post war Italy, illiteracy was still a huge problem, especially in large areas of the South).

Daily television shows included TV news, documentaries, drama and classical concerts. The only forms of entertainment were the weekly feature movie and quiz show. There were no commercial interruptions during the shows and commercials were actually grouped altogether in a ten minute special evening interruption. Obviously this kind of television was not in competition with cinema. Everything changed in 1975 when a number of privately owned channels were allowed to broadcast at a local level. These channels were proposing programs that focused only on entertainment (sports, movies, soap operas, quiz shows, etc.) and consequently both RAI, the state owned television, and cinema had to start facing the aggressive competition of these new channels.

In this course, we will first pay attention to the way in which cinema reacted to the invasion of commercial television and then we will analyze the work of two film-makers (Gianni Amelio and Fernan Ozpetek) who grew up in the new cultural environment of the 70s and analyze whether their movies have been influenced by the new kind of narration that commercial television imposed on audiences through soap operas, TV movies and TV series.

The concurrent NICE film festival in November at SIFF will allow us to screen some very recent (2010-2011) movies by first-time directors and continue the discussion on the influence of television on the youngest generation. Attendance to the festival is mandatory.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Yuko Mera
Date: 05/16/2011