Since its beginnings, cinema has sought inspiration and legitimation in literature. Italian literature, in particular, has given cinema precious ideas, themes and stories. But cinema, in turn, has repaid its debt by disseminating the knowledge of canonical literary masterpieces amongst a wider popular audience. Thus, it is possible to outline a cinematic history of Italian literature. We are going to explore this history through great movies based on great literary classics: from Dante’s Divine Comedy to Boccaccio’s Decameron, from Collodi’s Pinocchio to Verga’s I Malavoglia; we are going to see how such books have been reread and renewed by filmmakers such as Woody Allen, Luchino Visconti, Federico Fellini, Steven Spielberg and others.
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