Valerio Ferme is Associate Professor of Italian, Chair of Dept. of French and Italian and voting member in the Program in Comparative Literature. He received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley and has taught at the University of Colorado since 1998. He has published a book, Tradurre è tradire, on the influences of American cinema and literature in undermining fascist aesthetics between 1920 and 1943. Among his other publications are essays on Italian translators, contemporary authors and the revisionist approaches to the history of Italian unification in its cinema. He is currently at work on a book that examines the growth of Mediterranean Studies in Southern Italy through philosophy, literature, music and cinema."
He offers ITAL 4290: "Italian Culture through Cinema" (approved for the Core Curriculum) (being taught this semester) and ITAL 4280: "Topics in Italian Cinema: Culture and Society through Laughter".
“Italian Culture through Cinema” focuses thematically on those components that allow us to understand more clearly the use of movies as cultural and critical tools. In particular, we will discuss how Italian directors have often represented historical events (i.e., World War II) and certain constants of Italian society (i.e., the Mafia, patriarchy) from cinematic ‘angles’ that force the viewers to acknowledge their participation in the dominant worldview and critique it with the eyes of the camera.
"Topics in Italian Cinema: Culture and Society through Laughter" poses these questions: Is comedy an effective means to critique specific historical events and cultural behaviors? How does comedy succeed in questioning the events represented on the screen? What does comedy bring to a movie screen that tragedy and "seriousness" do not?