Type of Document Thesis Author Bozzone, Daniella N. URN etd-07182004-003452 Title Embodying the Italian-American: An Analytical Look at Bodily Performances of Italian-Americans in Film Degree Master of Arts Department Dance, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Tricia Henry Young Committee Chair John Perpener Committee Member Sally Sommer Committee Member Keywords
- Cultural Movement Systems
Date of Defense 2004-04-09 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis study provides an analytical exploration of the embodied performance of Italian-American ethnicity in film. The analyzed performances are taken from The Godfather trilogy, Moonstruck, and Saturday Night Fever. These films provide a wide range of characters expertly portrayed by the actors and directors. The purpose of this study is to illuminate the inherent presence of dance and movement in expressing ethnicity in filmic performances.
This project utilizes movement analysis, cultural studies, gender studies and ethnicity studies to address the importance of the performer’s body in expressing character, gender and ethnicity. American folklore or mythology is largely created by the medium of film and many of these mythological characters are part of the hyphenated ethnicities that form our culture. The seminal performances found in The Godfather trilogy, Moonstruck, and Saturday Night Fever brought several Italian-American character types to mythological proportions. The movement of these character types as individuals and in ensembles, as well as the films’ mise en scene forms the primary focus of this analysis. This project also allies the inherently intertwined relationship between acting and dancing. Analyzing these performances as choreographic as well as dramatic broadens the scope of dance studies to include other bodily performances.
A brief introduction and outline of this study begins the text of this thesis. This introduction elucidates the dance perspective given to the filmic analysis. The first chapter provides a brief history of Italians in America in the twentieth century. The following chapters contain an overview of the character types to be discussed, movement analysis of these characters as individuals, ensemble movement and the narrative venues for these portrayals of ethnicity. Finally a concluding chapter will tie together the overarching ideas of this project and consider future possibilities for this approach to performance studies.
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