Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Romance Studies
Italy: a place known for its long-standing history, rich culture, and beautiful landscapes. Our perception of the country, as well as its people, has been shaped over the last couple of centuries by a variety of factors, ranging from the experiences of Italian immigrants to the association of them with mobster-related incidents through various media platforms, such as news media, film, and TV series. Cinema specifically has played a big role in our perception of Italians and their culture. In recent decades, however, Italy has become a reoccurring backdrop in the depiction of extravagant and passion-filled lifestyles, also known as la dolce vita, or the sweet life. While various factors have led to the proliferation and growing glorification of la dolce vita, my thesis will examine the recent glorification of Italy and Italian culture in films, through the themes of Italy as an escape mechanism, Italy as an incubator for passion, impulsion and indulgence, and Italy as a place for self-growth, all of which are related to this idealization, and the contributing factors behind them. Within my analysis, I will also explore the impact that tourism has played in such ethnic marketing.