Fascism—named after the ancient Roman symbol of power, the fasces, a bundle of rods tied around an axe—started in 1919 in Italy, as a nationalistic group founded by Benito Mussolini. Fascism has written the darkest pages in the history of the twentieth century and scholars continue to try to distill its essence by focusing on its economic roots and its political origins. At a moment in history in which economic policy appears to drive political decisions, and the distance between representatives and represented grows every day, fifteen world cinema films—each responding to fascism in its own way—will guide our class discussions in our attempt to approach and understand the ideology of fascism.
Films will be discussed in regard to both content and form. Along with weekly film screenings and a selected bibliography on fascism, we also will focus on primary sources that will help students situate the films historically. Students also will be introduced to critical film vocabulary, and will learn to speak and write insightfully about film art and culture. Films will include, among others, The Great Dictator, Come and See, Land and Freedom, American History X, and Pan’s Labyrinth.
Topics vary. Please consult the program for more information.