My objective is to encourage students not only to simply learn and investigate more deeply into their own studies and preferences, but also to develop a personal, independent critical point of view that they can bring to class and discuss with their peers.

Anna Paparcone

Pier Paolo Pasolini, a controversial Italian filmmaker, author and intellectual, was critical of consumerism, bourgeois ambition, economic globalization and the gradual disappearance of Italian dialects. According to Assistant Professor of Italian Studies Anna Paparcone, many modern filmmakers have presented Pasolini's political and social ideals in their own work.

"If viewers miss or undervalue the significance of Pasolini's influence in contemporary Italian films, they miss the films' contribution to understanding Italian society and cinema," she says. "I am inclined to think it is through the references to and reappraisal of Pasolini's life, artistic production and public engagement that these films convey a stronger social and political meaning. They also help us to rethink the aesthetic qualities of Italian contemporary cinema."

Paparcone is particularly interested in "cinematic realism" -- that is, the close relationship between reality and its portrayal in Italian cinema. "I think it is pivotal to the understanding of Italian society and cinema that I compare past and present relationships between fiction and reality," she says. She explores the idea of "truth" and analyzes to what extent cinema could be considered a reliable vehicle of truthful messages on political and social issues.

Paparcone is also researching a variety of contemporary readings of Middle Ages and Renaissance works such as Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy and Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron, as well as the significant contributions of contemporary Italian women's films and documentaries. "In different ways, these various topics and time periods intersect and are in close connection, since they often propose social, cultural and political issues that can be compared and found more similar than one would expect."

Paparcone says her primary goal as an educator is to share and instill in Bucknell's students the enthusiasm she has for Italian language and culture. "My objective is to encourage students not only to simply learn and investigate more deeply into their own studies and preferences, but also to develop a personal, independent critical point of view that they can bring to class and discuss with their peers," she says. "I am always impressed by their determination, interest and joy to study Italian language and culture."

Posted Sept. 27, 2011

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