Communication Arts 460, or Italian Film, is one of my favorite classes I’ve taken during my time at UW Madison. It is taught by Professor Patrick Rumble and consisted only of small lectures of about sixty people.
I went into the class without any expectations of the coursework or difficulty level, but was pleasantly surprised. The course spanned the early beginnings of Italian cinema, including some of the first films ever made, to silent films, to Neo-realist films, to surrealist film, to Fellini, to contemporary Italian cinema. Professor Rumble was an extremely engaging and intelligent lecturer. He was very funny and likable, but also clearly very well-versed in the information he was sharing. His excitement about the topics made me excited to learn about them. I also was surprised at how much I enjoyed watching these Italian movies, especially some of the earlier ones.
In particular, the Fellini film 8 1/2 was my favorite of the many films we saw. It was abstract and confusing, but I loved the strangeness of the story and the way it was filmed. The sets were extravagant and the people were beautiful- it makes you want to go to old-time Italy.
The course itself was not too difficult. The grade is composed of two short blue-book essays, one final essay, and a few quizzes thrown just to check factual knowledge about the films we covered. The essays were straightforward and easy to succeed at.
I’m really glad I decided to take a chance with this course, and go with something that truly interested me instead of making sure it was an “easy class” or a class that many of my friends had taken.