September 23, 2023

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Mafia movie class explores stereotypes, tradition, cinema

Mafia movie class explores stereotypes, tradition, cinema

In 2008, Dana Renga sat down to look at the Tremendous Bowl. Renga, professor of Italian and dean of arts and humanities at The Ohio State College, is “obsessed” with the commercials, she mentioned. That yr, one of many adverts, for Audi, was an homage to “The Godfather,” Francis Ford Coppola’s well-known movie about an American mafia household. 

“It struck me in that second that the mafia had entered the collective American creativeness,” she mentioned.

Mafia movie class explores stereotypes, tradition, cinemaThis realization led Renga to curate an edited quantity about mafia films and, subsequently, to create a category at Ohio State on the identical subject.

Italian 2055, or Mafia Films, is now taught by Giuliano Migliori, senior related college within the Division of French and Italian. It’s immensely fashionable, with round 500 college students enrolled per semester, and has been since its inception.

“The primary time the category was taught, it was in Hagerty Corridor, which seats just a few hundred college students,” Renga mentioned. “It was completely packed.”

The category has two targets: to coach college students in regards to the mafia and its portrayal in fashionable tradition and to review and critique movie.

“College students are watching films and discussing the subject material however they’re additionally analyzing, decoding and studying how we interact with this medium,” Migliori mentioned. “We do some formal scene evaluation however in brief movies so it’s accessible and approachable, nearly casual, to make that sort of scholarship nearer to what college students know.”

One of many obstacles Renga and Migliori encounter with the category is issues that mafia films perpetuate stereotypes. They welcome this dialogue.

“The complete construction of the course begins with stereotypes and how one can contextualize the methods during which ethnic teams, minorities, Italians and immigrants have developed on display,” Migliori mentioned. “We are attempting to check the truth of the mafia, which isn’t only one sort of group however a polymorphic phenomenon, to what we see within the movies.”

Giuliano Migliori“This semester, for the primary time, we’re going to speak in regards to the ‘Ndrangheta,’ the Calabrian mafia, which has been concerned in an enormous trial for the final yr and a half,” he mentioned. “It’s not well-known and positively not in our college students’ minds. It is a nice method to evaluate and distinction our assumptions about a lot of these crimes and their affect in our societies.”

The truth that Italy is house to many regional mafias permits college students to find out about Italy as a multidimensional nation as properly.

“The mafia was shaped within the 1860s, and Italy, as a nation, was solidified in 1861,” Renga mentioned. “It is a factor we speak about: Quite a lot of the historical past in Italy can’t be separated from the historical past of the mafia.”

Due to this cultural focus, Mafia Films satisfies a common schooling requirement at Ohio State, which suggests it attracts college students from many alternative majors. Most come the School of Engineering and the Fisher School of Enterprise.

“I wish to say 60-70{4d1962118177784b99a3354f70d01b62c0ba82c6c697976a768b451038a0f9ce} of the scholars are outdoors [the College of Arts and Sciences], which is a superb alternative to get them to attempt one thing else,” Renga mentioned. “Possibly they take one other movie class or do an Italian minor.”

Migliori doesn’t see demand for the course slowing down any time quickly. Tales in regards to the mafia are simply as fashionable as they had been in 2008, he mentioned. He recollects an advert he noticed throughout this yr’s Tremendous Bowl, this time for Chevrolet. The topic? “The Sopranos.”

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