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Italian American Cinema Exhibit - Press Release



Italian American Cinema: From Capra to the Coppolas is an original documentary exhibit curated by the Museo Italo Americano at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, and written by film scholar and San Francisco State University Cinema Professor Joseph McBride. This exhibit - featuring written and photographic panel displays, videos, memorabilia, and graphic art - will be on display at Arte Italia at 442 Flint Street in Reno, Nevada, from March 17, 2016, through September 18, 2016.

The American cinema, from its inception, has played a major role in shaping our perceptions of our country and ourselves, and impacting the way that other countries perceive us, as well. American movies were multiethnic from the beginning, made initially for largely working-class and often immigrant audiences and shaped by filmmakers strongly identified with their ethnic groups. Italian Americans have long been one of the most important and influential groups represented onscreen, and many major filmmakers and stars have been Italian American. In such films from the heartwarming Rocky and Marty to the chilling Godfather trilogy and Raging Bull, their work has both reflected the Italian American experience in this country and shaped the overall society’s perceptions and sometimes misperceptions of this ethnic group’s identity.

The themes upon which Italian American filmmakers have concentrated are among the central pillars of our culture—Family, Community, Immigration, Assimilation—and they have dealt with these topics with great complexity and nuance. Their films explore the American Dream in all its ramifications and contradictions. What are the consequences, good and bad, of the drive toward socioeconomic success in America? How have Italian Americans maintained their cultural heritage while also defining their identity as unhyphenated Americans?

Italian American filmmakers from Frank Capra, Vincente Minnelli, and Ida Lupino to Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and Penny Marshall have taken differing approaches to these themes. Some have avoided direct identification with ethnicity, dealing more generally with social themes, while others, especially in recent times, have made films capturing important aspects of the ethnic experience. Many Italian American actors—from Rudolph Valentino, Frank Sinatra, Lou Costello, and Anne Bancroft to Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Liza Minnelli, and Leonardo DiCaprio today—have also enhanced our national cinema with their talents, charisma, and charm, in dramas as well as comedies and musicals.

With Italian American Cinema: From Capra to the Coppolas, the Arte Italia celebrates the rich talents of all these people and explores their great contributions to our country and its multiethnic traditions.

Visit for updates and specific exhibit-related events this spring and summer.

Mission and Vision of Arte Italia

As Nevada's premier Italian Cultural Arts Center, Arte Italia is dedicated to preserving the traditions and heritage of old Italy through a myriad of educational opportunities. Arte Italia’s unique programming, including exhibitions of classic Italian art and culinary classes taught by distinguished chefs from Italy, touches thousands of visitors each year.


Tiffany Roller, Executive Program Officer

Arte Italia, Business Office, 165 W. Liberty Street, Suite 200, Reno, NV 89501

Tel: (775) 333-0310 x.109




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