PhD 1995, New York University
Research interests: postwar culture; landscape and space studies; classical film theory; stylistics and image theory narratology & poetics; modernism & realism; Italian cinema; French cinema
My research and teaching evolve through questions of film culture, medium, and stylistics in particular historical intersections. I am interested in the use of landscape – natural, built, and ruined – in post-World War II European cinema, in the human face as privileged site of representation and, more broadly, in the figural, iconic efficacy of the moving image. While my work engages with the material, historical, and social experience of the cinema and how it partakes in cultures of the everyday, I am also unapologetically committed to the study of film as an art in dialogue with other artistic forms – traditional (even archaic) and modern. My forthcoming book, The Face of Film, reflects on the sense of belatedness and loss that haunts the facial image in the post-classical era. I am intrigued by the equivocal visuality of the face: its supreme expressivity and claim to presence is perhaps most compelling when communicative expression recoils, and interiority registers as opacity. In both my teaching and writing I like to draw on a wide variety of approaches, but also endeavor to generate and explore new concepts through close analysis of detail and nuance that meet the complexity of the object at hand. I believe that both the stylistic analysis of films and archival research are not only academic tools, but can intensify and refine our perception and enrich our experience in the broadest sense.
Before joining the faculty of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago I was a faculty member at Yale University. I advanced my studies and research with the support of fellowships and awards including the Fulbright, the Getty Post-Doctoral Grant, and the National Endowment for the Humanities Rome Prize.
Associated Faculty in Romance Languages and Literatures
Transitional Spaces in Postwar Cinemas; Bresson Against Cinema; Barthes Text Image; The Face on Film; The Cinema of Jean Renoir; Methods and Issues in Cinema Studies; Realisms; Poetics and Rhetoric of Cinema; Neorealism: Space, Culture, History; From La Dolce Vita to the Murder of Pasolini; Surrealism & Cinema; The Musical Film; Screening Shakespeare; Human Being and Citizen College Core.
Selected recent publications:
The Face of Film. Oxford University Press (NY), forthcoming 2014.
Italian Locations: Reinhabiting the Past in Postwar Cinema. University of Minnesota Press, 2008.
"Antonioni Screen Test." Chronicle of an Author: Anthology on Michelangelo Antonioni, ed. Alberto Boschi. Milano: Il Castoro Università degli studi di Ferrara, forthcoming 2014.
“Of the Face: In Reticence.” A Museum without Walls: Film, Art, New Media, ed. Angela Dalle Vacche. NY: Palgrave/MacMillan, 2012.
“Incoherent Spasms and the Dignity of Signs.” Opening Bazin, ed. Dudley Andrew. NY: Oxford University Press, 2011.
“The Cinecittà Refugee Camp, 1944-1950.” October 128, Spring 2009, pp. 23-50.
*Italian version in two parts “Cinecittà campo profughi, 1944-1950.” Bianco e nero 560 (Nov. 2008) and 561/562 (May 2009).
*Reprinted in The Place of the Moving Image, eds. by John David Rhodes and Elena Gorfinkel. University of Minnesota Press, 2011.
“Elemental Housing in the Postwar Imaginary.” Arts and Artifacts in Movie Technology, Aesthetics, Communication 6 (2009).
“Ages of the Face: Barthes, Godard, Warhol.” The Ages of Cinema: Criteria and Models for the Construction of Historical Periods, eds. Enrico Biasin et. al. Udine, It.: Forum, 2008.
“What the Clerk Saw: Face to Face with The Wrong Man.” Framework Journal of Cinema and Media 48.2, Fall 2007.
“Visuality and Viscera.” The Five Senses of Cinema, eds. Alice Autelitano et. al. Udine, It.: Forum, 2005.
Work in progress:
* I have recently contributed the subject, treatment, and voice-over narration for the documentary film Refugees in Cinecittà (2012), directed by Marco Bertozzi, produced by Istituto Luce and Vivo Film, Rome. http://www.vivofilm.it/en/produzione/cinecitta-campo-profughi/ .
* The Cinecittà Refugee Camp is also being expanded to a book, under contract with Donzelli Press, Rome.