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Study information

Love (and Marriage?) in Contemporary Italian Film Comedy

Module titleLove (and Marriage?) in Contemporary Italian Film Comedy
Module codeMLI2018
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Alessia Risi (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Does popular cinema tell us anything about a nation? As its most popular genre, rooted in national culture and rarely created for export, does comedy have something particular to tell us about Italy? Most contemporary Italian comedies are centred on dramas about sentimental and sexual relationships, so on this module we use that theme in order to examine how contemporary Italian cinema uses film narrative to mediate Italy’s relationship with the wider world and changing social mores. In particular we consider how this form of entertainment refracts Italy’s changing relationship with fertility, feminism, racial identity, same-sex desire, fidelity and marriage.

Module aims - intentions of the module

“The Italians are a romantic people”, announces bestselling Italian author and film-maker Federico Moccia, in one of his latest films, and he has achieved great success by depicting love as a personal and a national concern. On this module you will consider this image of Italy from the perspective of Italian cinema's most popular genre, comedy, and examine how ideas about romance, love and marriage translate onto the contemporary Italian screen. Many (if not most) recent popular Italian comedies centre around the unfolding of a love story, or the collapse of a marriage, around infidelity, cross-generational affairs, teen love stories, or same-sex desire. Starting with a consideration of traditional narrative tropes rooted in romance and marriage from Hollywood and Italy's past, the module aims to investigate how these time-honoured themes manifest themselves in recent Italian cinema. Do contemporary understandings of love and identity create new narrative and representational patterns in these films? How do questions of genre, address and stardom intersect with these national and private obsessions? How do changing ideas about gender and society influence representations of love and marriage? This module aims to address these questions, and to understand how and why a national cinema likes to represent romance as one of its principle concerns.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate an informed understanding and detailed knowledge of the works studied on the module
  • 2. Demonstrate an informed understanding of a number of key debates in genre and gender theory and an ability to apply these to film

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Use a range of film-critical terminology, applying it to independently researched material as well as to material introduced by the course tutor(s)
  • 4. Analyse films in a variety of genres and styles, showing awareness of their relation to the social, historical and generic context in which they were written, and present the results orally and in writing

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Through seminar work and group presentations, demonstrate communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups
  • 6. Through research, seminar discussion, and essay writing demonstrate a capacity to question assumptions, to distinguish between fact and opinion, and to critically reflect on their own learning process

Syllabus plan

You will be taught in a weekly seminar and fortnightly lecture format, and you will also attend a weekly film screening. You will be encouraged to prepare specified reading material for class, to deliver at least one oral presentation, and will also be given the option to discuss any queries and your formative and summative assessments.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching10Seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1Conclusions
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Screenings
Guided Independent Study112Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Clip analysis500 words1-4Written feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay802000 words1-4, 6Written feedback
Oral presentation (group), accompanied by a 500-word written document2010 minutes5Written and oral feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay 1-4, 6Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Deleyto, Celestino, The Secret Life of Romantic Comedy (MUP, 2009)
  • Jeffers McDonald, Tamar, Romantic Comedy: Boy Meet Girl Meets Genre (Wallflower Press, 2007)
  • Mortimer, Claire, Romantic Comedy (London: Routledge, 2010)
  • O'Rawe, Catherine, Stars and Masculinities in Contemporary Italian Cinema (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

love, marriage, Italian cinema, romantic comedy

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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Module co-requisites


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