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The Oxford Brookes Language and Discourse interdisciplinary group has a specific focus on the relation between forms discourse, ideology and society.
Our interests range from the production, interpretation and comprehension of discourse; to its mediation through materials, media and technologies; to the role it plays in social issues of gender, class, race, identity, politics, culture, literacy, and beyond.
PhD in film Studies at the University of Warwick
School of Arts
Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment
Film Studies and Digital Media Production have become hugely dynamic academic areas because of the increasing transformation in the creative world. This transformation requires talented graduates with a whole new set of skills to respond to a fast-moving industry. Our programmes offer the ideal combination of theoretical and technical expertise to prepare students for a career in film, television, and digital media, as well as to pursue further postgraduate studies in these areas.
My role as Programme Lead is to ensure the academic portfolio is in line with the industry requirements, but also that students are offered the best experience to succeed in their ambitions. I am fully committee to pursue this and I work closely to students in Film Studies and Digital Media Production in order to ensure support, academic guidance and opportunities are offered to improve the prospects of our graduates’ career in such a thriving interactive sector.
PhD supervision of:
1. Diaspora, Identity and Cinematic Memory in Rural South Australia
2. Modes of film production in 1950s Italy
My area of research is cinema studies, more specifically film programming, exhibition and reception of popular cinema. I have been working for the last few years on memories of cinema-going in post-war Italy (and Europe) as well as on applied digital humanities tool into film studies.
2016- Present Date: Coordinator of the HoMER Research Network (History of Moviegoing, Exhibition and Reception)
2013-2016 Consultant in a project on ‘The role of Italian cinema in the process of negotiation of the social and religious conflicts of the years 1945-1960’ (funded by the University of Milan and the Ministry for the University and Research).
2013 - Present Date Member of the DICIS – Digital Cinema Studies (funded by the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO).
2014- Present Date Editorial Board member of the Journals COGENT (Taylor and Francis) and Schermi
Winner of the AHRC Follow-on Funding Impact & Engagement for the project ‘Mapping cinema experience as living knowledge across Italy's generational divide’ (ICAMAP). Role: Principal Investigator.
Winner of the RIKSBANKENS JUBILEUMSFOND European Research on the Historical Experience of Cinema Going. Role: Steering Committee member.
Winner of the British Academy/Leverhulme Fellowship for the project ‘Mapping European Cinema: a comparative project on cinema-going experiences in the 1950s’. Role: Principal Investigator.
Winner of the AHRC Research Grant for the project ‘In Search of Cinema Audiences in 1940s and 1950s Italy’. Role: Principal Investigator.
Winner of the British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship for the project ‘In Search of Cinema Audiences in 1940s and 1950s Italy: An Oral History Project in Rome’. Role: Principal Investigator.
I am currently:
Although it has only been in the last decade that the planet’s population balance tipped from a predominantly rural makeup towards an urban one, the field of cinema history has demonstrated a disproportionate skew toward the urban. Within audience studies, however, an increasing number of scholars are turning their attention away from the bright lights of the urban, and towards the less well-lit and infinitely more variegated history of rural cinema-going.
Rural Cinema Exhibition and Audiences in A Global Context is the first volume to consider rural cinema-going from a global perspective. It aims to provide a rich and wide-ranging introduction to this growing field, and to further develop some of its key questions. It brings together eighteen international scholars or teams, all representatives of a dynamic, new field. Moving beyond a Western focus is essential for thinking through questions of rural exhibition, distribution and cinema experience, since over the relatively short history of cinema it is the rural that has dominated cinema-goers’ lives in much of the developing world. To this end, the volume also innovates by bringing discussions of North American and European ruralities into dialogue with contributions on Kenya, Brazil, China, Thailand, South Africa and Australia.--Provided by publisher.
This volume is part of the recent interest in the study of religion and popular media culture (cinema in particular), but it strongly differs from most of this work in this maturing discipline. Contrary to most other edited volumes and monographs on film and religion, Moralizing Cinema will not focus upon films (cf. the representation of biblical figures, religious themes in films, the fidelity question in movies), but rather look beyond the film text, content or aesthetics, by concentrating on the cinema-related actions, strategies and policies developed by the Catholic Church and Catholic organizations in order to influence cinema. Whereas the key role of Catholics in cinema has been well studied in the USA (cf. literature on the Legion of Decency and on the Catholic influenced Production Code Administration), the issue remains unexplored for other parts of the world. The book includes case studies on Argentina, Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, and the USA.--Supplied by publisher.
The Phoenix is one of only a handful of British cinemas to have remained active for the past 100 years. This is the story of Oxford's oldest continuously operating cinema, as told by its staff and customers. Featuring first-hand reminiscences dating back to the days of silent movies, and illustrated with a fabulous collection of over 100 images, many of which have never appeared in print until now, 'The Phoenix Picturehouse' presents a wide-ranging account of a popular local institution whose changing fortunes exemplify a century of British cinema and cinemagoing history.--Provided by publisher.
The new cinema history approach asserts the importance of investigating the historical reception of films. In the past two decades, empirical research on film audiences has significantly developed methodologies and questions related to film and memory. Some of these studies concentrate on a period of time in which cinema was an essential leisure activity for millions, before the arrival of television, multiplexes, videos and home cinema. Combining ethnographic audience study with cultural and cinema history has allowed new insights into the historical reception of films and confirmed the vital role of oral history for a better understanding of cinema audiences. Italian Cinema Audiences (2013–2016) – an AHRC-funded inter-institutional research project – sits precisely within this new body of research and responds to the urge of using a bottom-up approach to shed new light on the cultural history of a country in a particular historical moment. This article will make use of the findings of the Italian Cinema Audiences research project to explore the role of oral history in the process of understanding cinemagoing as a cultural practice and to better comprehend how this type of research can enrich our understanding of the cinemagoing experience in particular and film cultures more broadly. It will also reflect on the process of remembering what I will define as ‘memories of pleasure’.
Catholic film exhibition developed in Italy under the tight regulations of the CCC, which issued guidelines about films acceptable by the Vatican and therefore allowed to be screened in religious venues; and the ACEC, which intended to guarantee legal and administrative support to the Catholic exhibition circuit, as well as guidance in its relationship with the commercial sector and promotion of Catholic values through distribution of appropriate films. If, in theory, the network of religious cinemas was meant to function as an educational vehicle to spread Catholic moral values across the country through entertainment, the reality was significantly different. In practice, parish venues often operated as commercial enterprises, infringing several of the strict protocols instructed by the complex agreements between ACEC and AGIS. Triangulating the Cattolici e il Cinema database with the sources from the «Bollettino dello Spettacolo» – the National Exhibitors Association trade journal – and the geovisualization of the many violations denounced across the country, this article offers a multifaceted picture on the relationship between State and Church, and several other commercial and religious institutions.
This article, based on the AHRC-funded project (2013-16), ‘In Search of Italian Cinema Audiences in the 1940s and 1950s: Gender, Genre and National Identity’, explores the power of geo-visualization for capturing the affective geographies of cinema audiences. This mapping technique, used in our project both to interrogate the Italian exhibition sector as well as to map film distribution, is used in this article to illustrate the affective and emotional dimensions of cartographic practices related to memory. The article will firstly examine the imbrication of memory and space, before moving on to a discussion of our mapping of the memories of one of our respondents, and the questions this mapping raises about geographical and remembered space, mobility, and the relation between mapping and life-cycles.
‘Italian Cinema Audiences’ è un progetto di ricerca collaborativo che indaga la memoria collettiva legata all’esperienza dell’andare al cinema in Italia negli anni Cinquanta.1 In particolare, il progetto si concentra sull’importanza del cinema nella vita quotidiana attraverso interviste con membri del pubblico, le cui risposte vengono elaborate e contestualizzate grazie ad ulteriori ricerche di archivio. Questo articolo offre una panoramica su alcuni dei risultati della prima fase di questo processo, basato su un’indagine a livello nazionale, condotta su più di 1000 italiani ultra sessantacinquenni, che ha raccolto sia dati statistici sulle loro esperienze di frequentazione cinematografica sia testimonianze dei loro ricordi. Con l’aiuto dell’Università delle Tre Età in Italia, abbiamo distribuito un questionario a un gruppo di partecipanti scelti fra otto province e otto città. Le città di Bari, Roma, Torino, Milano, Palermo, Napoli, Cagliari e Firenze sono state selezionate tra le 12 città capozona, scelte dall’AGIS per monitorare gli incassi al botteghino nel periodo in questione. Le realtà urbane sono state affiancate da località rurali in Toscana, Lombardia, Piemonte, Lazio, Sardegna, Campania, Sicilia e Puglia. I partecipanti ai questionari comprendono in maniera più o meno equa uomini e donne, abitanti di città e provincia, e rispecchiano un panorama completo di provenienza sociale.
Cinema was the most popular form of entertainment in Italy in the 1950s. In particular, Rome not only boasted the highest number of movie theatres in the country, but was also the home of cinema studios, production and distribution companies as well as film industry offices. Building upon a survey of film-goers who lived in Rome between the years 1945 and 1960, this article analyses the experience of film consumption, choice and movie taste in the capital at the time. Moreover, it investigates how the memory of events related to cinema-going was woven into people’s personal narrative. The project not only adds new dimensions to our understanding of audiences in Rome during the 1950s, but also looks into the way people construct their memories of the social experience of cinema-going and reflect upon them after over 60 years.
During the 1950s, cinema in Italy blossomed, bringing film entertainment to Italians on an unprecedented scale. This study draws upon the testimony of 325 elderly Romans about their cinemagoing experiences during this period. Their memories are set in the particular context of the film programs that they (and fellow filmgoers) selected—information that is derived from daily newspapers and supplemented with trade listings of the most popular films screened in Rome. In producing a bottom-up account of cinemagoing, the paper contributes to the general debate about film culture in Italy in the postwar era.
This paper will be an introduction to a large-scale project, for which we are currently seeking funding, which aims to address the gap in knowledge about the Italian cinema-going public of the 1940s and 1950s, for whom cinema was by far the most popular pastime. Following the model of works that combine ethnographic audience study with analysis of the films, genres and stars that produced audiences’ dominant memories, this project will re-evaluate the popular reception of film by engaging with cinema-going memories. Through the triangulation of box office figures, the popular press and audience interviews, its aim is to provide the first detailed and wide-ranging analysis of cinema audiences in Italy in the 1940s and 1950s. In this paper we will showcase our initial work on 20 trial interviews that have been conducted with Romans over the age of 70. Analysing these interviews, we will offer a new view of cinema-going in the post-war period: one that focuses on the everyday nature of the experience, from the perspectives of gender, genre and national identity
Catholic film policies in 1950s Italy were clearly dictated by the Censorship Commission of the Centro Cattolico di Cinematografia1 (Catholic Cinema Centre) which issued regular guidelines about what films were acceptable by the Vatican and, therefore, allowed to be screened in religious venues. If, in theory, the network of parish cinemas was meant to function as an indirect way to censor immoral film content, the reality, however, was very different. In practice films that the CCC considered unsuitable to be screened in parish venues were often shown in religious cinemas. So far – as information on parish cinema programming is patchy and inconsistent – no research has been conducted which looks at the extent to which the Catholic Church’s attempt to moralise programming in parish cinemas was successful. This chapter will use Rome as a significant example of contrast between official policies and programming practices in the city which was the centre of the Catholic world, housing the Vatican, the Catholic curia and all the main Catholic administration offices. Catholic programming of the Roman parish cinemas listed in the online archive of the local edition of the newspaper L’Unità will be analysed. A research into what religious venues screened will offer a better understanding of the dynamics at play between the educational and censorial intentions of parish cinema networks in the mind of the ecclesiastic establishment and the actual processes put in place by the local exhibitors to attract audiences and run a profitable business.
Cinema-going represented for Italian audiences of the 1950s the most popular pastime. Its capital, Rome, was at the centre of film culture. Production studios, national distribution and exhibition headquarters, as well as specialised film press offices were concentrated in Rome, a situation not dissimilar to its French counterpart . Moreover, the wide network of cinemas in the capital offered Romans exposure to an extensive range of movies produced at the time both in the country and abroad. However, very little has been written on the habit of cinema-going in Rome in the post-war period and no work has been done so far to reconstruct memories of its audiences of that time. This chapter presents an attempt to apply oral history methodologies in order to map lived experiences against the official history of Italian cinema. The memories of cinema-going will be presented in conjunction with the data on film popularity in the capital in order to explain the significant role cinema played in Romans’ lives.
Because commercial film production was seen as a danger to the morality of the Church, Italian Catholics developed the idea of exerting a positive influence over producers by creating an extensive network of parish cinemas where films could be rigorously selected and screened. While from a religious point of view, parish cinemas were meant to be a way of spreading an evangelical message, from a purely commercial perspective, they were businesses like every other cinema. This system provided the Vatican with a means of exerting pressure on the Italian film industry. However, when one considers the programming, the marketing processes and the oral history, a new picture emerges. While parish cinemas could only show films approved by the Censorship Commission of the Centro Cattolico Cinematografico (Catholic Cinema Center, hereafter CCC) to be screened in religious venues, in practice, films officially only considered suitable in a public venue ( For all and For all with appropriate changes ) were often still shown in parish cinemas. This was a consequence of the limited number of ‘suitable’ films available at the time. Therefore, if the process of both moralizing cinema and attracting audiences employed by the Vatican in conjunction with the government presented profuse compromises, oral history allows us for the first time to better comprehend how the educational role of a parish cinema network was perceived by its actual audiences. Rome is used here as a case study because it is the center of the Catholic world, housing the Vatican, the Catholic curia and all the main Catholic administration offices. In responding to Martin Barker’s questions “What spaces and traditions are available to people, and how do these shape and enable participation?” and “What information, comparisons, judgments, expectations, hopes and fears precede and then accompany encounters?” 1 this chapter analyzes 325 questionnaires followed by thirty-two video interviews. 2 Looking at the parish cinemas as spaces available to Roman audiences in the post-war period and analyzing the audience’s responses concerning this particular type of space allow us to understand how they shaped and enabled participation in the capital’s audiences. Moreover, the chapter attempts to discover whether the process of moralizing audiences was successful in Rome and how it was remembered by its protagonists.
The collaboration between the Catholic church and left-wing filmmakers, scriptwriters, and producers in postwar Italian cinema is a fascinating yet submerged area of research. This chapter aims to explore the relationship between the Vatican-sponsored production company Universalia and one of the most representative neorealist writers, Cesare Zavattini. I will do that by looking at Zavattini’s working relationship with the Catholic company and then I will take Blasetti’s Prima Comunione (1950)—scripted by Zavattini—as a successful example of what Mino Argentieri (1979, p. 155) defined “that dialogue between atheists and believers.”
Film censorship in Italy was as rigorous throughout the 1950s as it had been under Mussolini’s regime. The postwar period represented, however, a decisive moment: Italy experienced one of the highest box-office intakes in Europe and a new film law, introduced by Giulio Andreotti in 1949, transformed censorship practice into a preventative form of control under the ideological and legislative pressure of the Catholic establishment. This crucial turning point would set a standard practice—slightly modified in 1962 and again in 2007, but substantially the same—in which state censorship would be echoed by that of Catholic Church, whose main aim was to “promote a moralizing cinema.”