al martino

The Soundtrack of Italian American Cinema: A Talk by Mark Rotella

The Soundtrack of Italian American Cinema: A Talk by Mark Rotella
Moderated by Teresa Fiore (Inserra Endowed Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies)

POSTPONED TO SPRING 2022 – In English with simultaneous interpretation into Italian (Zoom meeting with limited spots available)

The talk looks at the history of Italian American films through the soundtrack. From Rudolph Valentino’s 1920s silent movies, through the films of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Frank Capra, Stanley Tucci, Norman Jewison, and even Spike Lee, we will hear how music—sweet orchestration, booming opera, heart-felt crooning, and rhythmic doowop—enhanced and informed the cinematic narrative. Designed in connection with “Italian Americans in Film,” a General Education course offered at MSU since 2012.

Mark Rotella

Mark Rotella is an American author and Senior Editor at Publishers Weekly. He graduated from Columbia University in 1992 with a B.A. in Russian Literature. Rotella’s first book, Stolen Figs: And Other Adventures in Calabria (2004), recounts his travels to Calabria, the region in southern Italy from which his grandparents immigrated.

His second book, Amore: The Story of Italian American Song (2010), tells of the era in American popular music during the mid-20th century dominated by Italian-American singers such as Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Dean Martin, and Tony Bennett. He also wrote the introduction for the 2006 paperback edition of Carlo Levi’s memoir, Christ Stopped at Eboli. He has published nearly four dozen articles in a wide array of outlets including The New York Times, New York Times Book Review, The L.A. Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Vanity Fair, Saveur Magazine, and and has appeared on National Public Radio outlets across the USA (on flagship shows such as All Things Considered and the Leonard Lopate Show), CBS’s The Insider, Entertainment Tonight, and ABC News. After teaching at Goucher and Lehman Colleges as well as in the MFA Program at Columbia University, Rotella is Visiting Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at Montclair State University, where he was also appointed as Director of the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America as of Fall 2020.

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“It’s A Wonderful (Italian-American) Life” by Mark Rotella, (Dec. 2012).

“’Amore’: Italian-American Singers In The 20th Century” by Mark Rotella, (Oct. 9, 2010)

“Living With Music: A Playlist by Mark Rotella” The New York Times (Oct. 6, 2010).

Big Night: Soundtrack and Silence” by Andrea Sciarambella, ReelRundown. Nov. 23, 2020.