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A New Canon? Contemporary Italian Cinema and Television and the Role of Quality in the Anglophone Curriculum

digital A New Canon? Contemporary Italian Cinema and Television
and the Role of Quality in the Anglophone Curriculum
Article
journal COMUNICAZIONI SOCIALI
issue COMUNICAZIONI SOCIALI - 2016 - 3. ITALIAN QUALITY CINEMA Institutions, Taste, Cultural Legitimation
title A New Canon? Contemporary Italian Cinema and Television and the Role of Quality in the Anglophone Curriculum
authors
publisher Vita e Pensiero
format Article | Pdf
online since 13-12-2016
issn 03928667 (print) | 18277969 (digital)
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Building on Renga’s survey study of the Italian cinema taught in Anglophone universities (2014), this article aims to assess whether and to what extent the notion of ‘quality’ plays a role in the selection of contemporary films to teach across the higher education curriculum in the teaching of Italian Studies. In particular, it considers whether there is any consonance between Italian government intervention in the film industry via the MiBACT funding and support scheme for ‘film d’interesse culturale’ (a process updated under the Legge Urbani in 2004), and the films selected for teaching. Our conclusions suggest that certain topics, stars and directors remain prominent in the teaching of Italian cinema, at the expense of popular cinema and films by female directors. The reasons for this lie in a complex knot of factors relating to a notion of quality as tied to particular topics and aesthetics, to the international festival and awards circuit and press discourse, and above all, to the availability of films with international distributors. If there is this inevitable bias within teaching always towards ‘more of the same’, the reasons for the neglect of certain films lie also within the Italian system itself, relating to the MiBACT support system, in which women are broadly under-represented.

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