Italian Cinema and Culture in English
Fall 2018 - I wish I read this review before taking this class: The reading assignments for this class were absolutely horrible. The movies were alright. Some were better than others. Most of all, this class is all about the luck of the draw. I ended up with the head T.A. who is a Lit major and graded essays like they were expected to be Pulitzer status. The quizzes were RIDICULOUS (as in terrible). The reading sometimes equates to about 80 pages of not the typical textbook reading, but extremely dense literary analysis or philosophy. Only one question on the quiz would come from the reading. The other two come from something said in lecture, and something pertaining to the movie itself. So one would say, "Why in the world would I do the reading?" A) Because 1-2 out of every 4 questions on the midterm and final come from it and B) the questions on the quizzes are definitely those bullshit questions from some random part of the reading that usually prompt a shake of the head in disgust. I read every single page of all of the readings and sacrificed a good portion of my Thursday night doing so all for one tiny question on a quiz that half the time i answered incorrectly. To be fair, i did learn a ton about italian culture and cinema in general but 90 percent of the reading I could have done without. Another negative aspect about this class is that you watch the movie on tuesday, you hear the professor analyze the movie on thursday and you turn in a 700 page paper on friday, if you choose to write on that specific movie. The worst part is that anything said in the analysis by the professor cannot be said in your paper so you have to wait until thursday night to begin writing. Obviously, this is a huge pain in the ass considering you have to do all of that reading on top of having a social life that night. The professor loves to paraphrase stuff from the reading to look intelligent and REALLY loves to analyze the key scenes, identifying the aspects of the film that have to do with the prompt. This makes things extremely frustrating since you have a hard time finding details of the film that haven't been covered that have thematic relevance. Overall, i took this class as a first year thinking it would be an easy GE since it was a film class. needless to say it was a rude awakening. I had to go pass or no pass even though I would've likely gotten a B just because I didn't want this class of ALL CLASSES to be my first B. I highly recommend you just go watch the movies offered in the class on your own time because that'll be the only thing that's worth it about this class. Everything else is just a guessing game about what the professor and TA wants you to do. Some kids are really good at that, but I'm not. I took a writing 2 class the previous quarter and got a solid A. I got like a C on my first paper in this class because the Professor doesn't accept new ideas. I can't live like that man. I don't like subjectivity. THATS ALL THIS CLASS IS. Okay, my rant is done. Be warned.
Fall 2015 - I took this class my first quarter at UCLA and it was one of my favorites. The class was very interesting and consisted of watching films every week, super short pop quiz's, a midterm, one essay and a final. The films for the first half of the quarter were all in Italian with English subtitles and those of the last half of the quarter were american films about Italian Americans. Most were pretty entertaining. There were also weekly reading assignments directly related to the film of the week. Professor Pirolini focused a lot on film aesthetics and the overall portrayal of Italians in film. He gave about five different prompts to choose from for the essay. The midterm and final were on the films and lecture slides. Overall a good experience.