Italian "Expanded" Cinema in the Mediascape: JCU Hosts Professor Vito Zagarrio

JCU hosted Professor Vito Zagarrio from the University of Roma Tre for a lecture on “Italian ‘Expanded’ Cinema in the Mediascape: Film, TV Series, and Documentary” on February 12, 2019. The event was sponsored by the Departments of Communications and Modern Languages and Literature.

Professor Zagarrio began his lecture by giving examples of how the film scene has changed over time. Whereas going to the cinema was once reserved for a rare night out, today it has become much more accessible and is also available across different platforms. In addition, cinema is no longer limited to “feature films” but it can also be seen in videogames with storylines that closely resemble cinematic plots. With the rise of the documentary genre, short films, independent productions, and more, filmmaking has expanded.

Professor Vito Zagarrio (standing up)

Professor Vito Zagarrio (standing)

Professor Zagarrio defines the new ways of combining genres in film as a “hybridization:” literature, theater, and cinema intertwine to produce a hybrid product. Directors are also experimenting through different directorial styles. For example, Zagarrio mentioned how one can notice a mixture of Pasolini, Bertolucci, and Argento in the way Luca Guadagnino has been directing his latest films. Zagarrio also noted a surge in female directors and producers, which has led to more films produced through the female gaze.

Zagarrio also explained how television is being transformed and expanded. It has become common for books to inspire new T.V series, such as the recent My Brilliant Friend based on Elena Ferrante’s novel. Professor Zagarrio also spoke about precursors to Elena Ferrante’s series by showing how series like “Gomorra,” “Suburra,” “Romanzo Criminale,” and others can already be considered examples of this on-going expansion.

Professor Zagarrio received a Certificate in Film Directing at the “Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia” of Rome (the National Film School), as well as an M.A. and Ph.D. in Cinema Studies at NYU. He is a full-time professor of Cinema and Television at Roma Tre University, and professor of History of Italian Film at NYU in Florence. He is currently the Director of the Audiovisual Production Center of Roma Tre University, a member of the Board of the Palladium Theatre, and a member of the Scientific Committee of the Italian National School of Cinema (Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia.) He has extensive experience in teaching Italian Film in several American colleges in Italy, some of which include: Syracuse University, California State University and New York University in Florence, I.E.S- International Education of Students. He is currently a visiting professor at the University of Kent (GB).