Mediated Ethnicity: Italian Americans and the Cinematic Experience
The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College, and the Department of Communication Studies, Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, Baruch College
Thursday, April 6, 2006, 1-5:30 PM
Baruch Performing Arts Center
Popular discussion of Italian Americans and film incessantly, almost exclusively, focuses on celluloid portrayals of gangsters by directors Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and others. Yet recent film scholarship has brought to light a rich and complicated history of cinematic representations of and production by Italian Americans. Moving beyond the mere celebratory, these scholarly publications are critically exploring the visual construction of Italian American ethnicity and identity. Four scholars will discuss their research ranging from the Silent Era to contemporary independent films.
Independent or small-budgeted films have provided Italian-American directors with fruitful opportunities to create varied and alternative stories that Hollywood film companies seem disinclined to produce. Directors Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno, Raymond De Felitta, and John Turturro will discuss the production and content of their respective films, as well as show representative clips.
In addition, three independent films will be featured in a series of evening screenings that will be followed by discussion with the directors.