Love (and Marriage?) (MLI2024)

StaffDr Danielle Hipkins - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.50
NQF Level6
Pre-requisitesNone (module open to students who have not studied Italian, films will be
subtitled in English)
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

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.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate a sound general understanding of the chosen films, including reference to their place in the historical and cultural context of their time

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 2. With some guidance from the course tutor(s), evaluate and apply a range of critical approaches to the material covered.
  • 3. Mount a detailed argument in the appropriate register of English, mustering a range of textual or other evidence in its support.
  • 4. Understand and use, in written and oral contexts, a range of film-critical terms.
  • 5. Access and use critically printed and, where appropriate, electronic learning resources identified as useful by the course tutor(s), and, to a limited extent, discover other useful materials independently.
  • 6. Analyse selected TL films, relating them to significant elements in their cultural, historical, and generic context
  • 7. Following broad guidelines, locate and identify library and electronic resources on a given topic and provide appropriate guidance for level 1 students
  • 8. Use recommended reference works to compile a bibliography, within given parameters (chronological, thematic, etc) on a specified topic
  • 9. Show awareness of the origins and nature of cultural differences between the host country and his/her own
  • 10. Demonstrate visual literacy skills appropriate to the level, e.g. an ability to relate images to meanings beyond the images themselves and an understanding that the cinematic image is the product of a combination of personal values, technological practices and cultural and industrial contexts

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 11. Undertake defined learning activities with a measure of autonomy, asking for guidance where necessary.
  • 12. Adopt a critical approach to the selection and organisation of material in order to produce, to a deadline, a written or oral argument.
  • 13. Present information and arguments on a defined topic to a group of listeners.
  • 14. Present a cogent and sustained argument orally / in writing, in English, on a topic chosen from a range of options provided, following broad guidelines but selecting and adapting them as required
  • 15. Using course material provided, research, plan and write an essay on a chosen aspect of the subject, to a specified length and deadline
  • 16. Contribute to a group presentation
  • 17. Demonstrate general competence in word-processing and in use of the Internet

Syllabus plan

Students will be taught in a weekly seminar and fortnightly lecture format, and they will also attend a weekly film screening. They 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 their 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 teaching activities15Lecture/seminar
Scheduled learning and teaching activities1Conclusion
Guided independent study22Hours of screening
Guided independent study112Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Clip analysis (written)750 words1-4written

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
Oral presentation of film clip2010 minutes5Written and Oral
2000 Word Essay802,000 words1, 2, 3, 4, 6Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (100%)1, 2, 3, 4, 6, Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Boero, Davide, Chitarre e Lucchetti: Il cinema adolescente da Morandi a Moccia (Le Mani, 2009)

  • Gill, Rosalind, ‘Postfeminist Romance’ in Gender and the Media (Cambridge: Polity, 2007), pp. 218-248

  • Hollows, Joanne and Mark Jancovich, Approaches to Popular Film (MUP, 1995)

  • King, Geoff, ‘Racial, ethnic and national dimensions’ in Film Comedy (London: Wallflower Press, 2006), pp. 143-157

  • Illouz, Eva, Consuming the Romantic Utopia: Love and the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997)

  • Krutnik, Frank. ‘Conforming Passions? Contemporary Romantic Comedy’ in Genre and Contemporary Hollywood, ed. Steve Neale (London: Bfi, 2002), pp. 130-47

  • Lapsley, Robert and Michael Westlake, ‘From Casablanca to Pretty Woman: the Politics of Romance’ Screen, 33.1 (1992), 27-49

  • Landy, Marcia, Italian Film (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000)

  • McDonald, Tamar Jeffers, Romantic Comedy: Boy Meets Girl Meets Genre (London: Wallflower Press, 2007)

  • Mortimer, Claire, Romantic Comedy (London: Routledge, 2010)

  • Neale, Steve and Frank Krutnik, Popular Film and Television Comedy (London: Routledge, 1990), pp. 43-61

  • Reich, Jacqueline, Beyond the Latin Lover: Marcello Mastroianni, Masculinity and Italian Cinema (Indiana University Press, 2004), pp. 49-56 & 66-77

  • Rhodes, John David, ‘Divorzio all’italiana’ in The Cinema of Italy, ed. by Gian Piero Brunetta (London: Wallflower Press, 2004), pp. 113-121

  • Walker, A, The Celluloid Sacrifice (London: Michael Joseph, 1966)

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

ELE: Lecture notes and film clips

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date