THIT 350: Blockbusters and Bestsellers: Italian Cinema and Literature of the Twenty-First Century

Instructor: Elgin Eckert - Ph.D.
Credits: 3
Prerequisite: None
Cross-Listing: Film & Media Studies, Italian Studies-Interdisciplinary, Literature

Course Description

This course provides an in-depth examination of some of the last decade’s most popular Italian films and novels. Key topics of Italian culture and society will be explored through an analysis of the selected literary works, while a careful examination of the novel’s adaptation for the cinematic screen will provide further material for reflection.


The course will be divided in two thematic units. The first unit will examine “personal spaces” and self-identification in contemporary Italy and will especially look at the woman within and outside the home, homosexuality and the figure of the child as portrayed in film and literary fiction. The second unit will focus on the renewed interest contemporary literature and film has shown in very recent historical events (such as terrorism during the anni di piombo, student revolutions of the late 1960’s, and even the G8 summit in Genoa).


Course Objectives

Students in this course will:

  • develop an interdisciplinary understanding of contemporary Italian literature and cinema
  • acquire a sufficient appreciation of the representation of contemporary Italy in written and cinematic popular culture
  • be able to discuss key cultural, political, and social events of the last decades with a certain depth and sophistication

Course Materials



Le fate ignoranti (His Secret Life)

Mine vaganti (Loose Canons)

Non ti muovere (Don’t Move)

I cento passi (One Hundred Steps)

Io non ho paura (I’m Not Scared)

La meglio gioventù (Best of Youth)

La grande bellezza (The Great Beauty)



Niccolò Ammaniti: I’m not scared

Elena Ferrante My brilliant friend

Margaret Mazzantini: Don’t move 


      Mandatory course reader