Both as a teacher and a researcher my interests revolve around the question: what makes Film and Television moving? I seek to explore the artistic dimension of this question and its social and cultural contexts. This question has brought me to study a range of different types of film, returning repeatedly to melodrama and to horror as well as to nostalgia and to retro. Throughout, my concentration on the artistry of feeling is accompanied by commentary upon its political meaning.
I have written extensively on Italian cinema and wrote my first book on melodrama, as a popularly accessibly combination of Italy's operatic and realist traditions. I have since begun to write more generally about film and the contemporary. I am currently developing the ideas I have proposed on retro and nostalgia into a broader analysis of time in cinema. More than anything, I am interested in how the cinematic treatment of time is both an aesthetic and a political quality; a method of intelligibility and of sensibility. I want to explore what contemporary cinema can demonstrate about a certain feeling of being lost within time, or within history, that seems to characterise much current political debate.
- Popular genres
- Film aesthetics
- Italian cinema
I am currently researching contemporary narrative cinema in relation to ideas of temporality. I see the artistic treatment of time as a way of making meaning of the world; at the same time that it is an aesthetic quality at the basis of cinematic pleasure. I am interested in relating this artistic treatment to a contemporary moment where ideals of progress seem so difficult to believe in.
I am maintaining my research interests in Italian cinema and am currently working on essays about the popular in Italian cinema; Federico Fellini's collaboration with Anita Ekberg; the actor/producer Riccardo Scamarcio; and the moral philosophy of the giallo.
This latter essay also coincides with my ongoing interest in horror. I am co-editing with Kevin Donnelly a book on Folk Horror: The Return of the British Repressed.
Current PhD Students
I am active in PhD supervision and I supervise a range of students who together give the department a special interest in horror research. I supervise PhDs that tend to have a particular focus on questions of film aesthetics and/or on popular genres. This has brought me a range of research students working on projects beyond horror, and these include PhDs on documentary and environmentalism, silence and music, art cinema, spaghetti westerns, melancholy and Guru Dutt, Chinese Neo-Noir, Sino-US co-production and memories of Versailles in French cinema.
I currently convene the undergraduate modules Film Noir and Film, Realism and Reality (which is about realist and documentary cinema). I supervise dissertation students according to my expertise, which is especially in areas of horror cinema, popular genres, Italian cinema, aesthetics and film theory.
I am convenor of the MA dissertation modules and I also supervise MA dissertations in line with my expertise as mentioned above. I also contribute to the Classical Film Theory MA module.
External roles and responsibilities
I studied at the Universities of Glasgow, Warwick and King's College, London, where I completed my AHRC-funded PhD research on post-war Italian melodrama. I published this research in 2014 with the title The Operatic and the Everyday in Post-war Italian Film Melodrama (Edinburgh University Press). I have also published on a range of other areas to do with Italian cinema, popular genres and aesthetics and am the author of the forthcoming collection of essays, Il cinema italiano: scritti su un'arte popolare, published by Meltemi.
More recently I have been concentrating on political analyses of retro, neoliberalism and nostalgia in contemporary cinema, journey narratives on film, as well as writing reviews for a range of publications. I have co-edited a range of volumes including Popular Italian Cinema, Journeys On Screen: Theory, Ethics and Aesthetics (which won an Honourable Mention in the BAFTSS Best edited collection prize, 2020), Folk Horror on Film: Return of the British Repressed as well as a special journal edition on Rome Open City, and on Memories of the Future: Historical Temporalities in Contemporary Film and Television.
I am developing a new research project on experiences of time as both an aesthetic and a political aspect of contemporary cinema. I organised the annual BAFTSS conference in 2021, which was hosted by the University of Southampton online on the topic of 'Time and the Body in Film, Television and Screen Studies'. I am Secretary of the Executive Committee of BAFTSS, a position elected by the BAFTSS membership. I have taught in Universities in the UK and in Rome, and have taught at the University of Southampton since September, 2015.
- BAFTSS 2020 Awards: Best Edited Collection (2020)