The school reform which become effective in 2010 calls for a precise role for cinema in italian school: “audiovisual and multimedia disciplines” subject matter is included into the curriculum “Audiovisual and Multimedia”. Along with “Fine arts”, “Architecture and environment”, “Design”, “Graphic art” and “Production design”, “Audiovisual and multimedia” make up the new italian high school of arts curriculums.
This destination for cinema means that his function in the school system is much closer to its historical/ontological meaning as a medium, in its aesthetic and performative potential (along with other media, such as fine arts, design, architecture), than its communicative/representative meaning as a language, refering to the so called “Non-verbal languages”, a school “classical” definition used to point at film and audiovisual as a way for the student to communicate, to represent himself or herself.
This curriculum originates together with a contemporary crucial phenomenon: the digital revolution. Digital is, and more and more will be, an expanded medium, spread in various devices (pc, smartphone, I-Pad, Tablet), a continuous go-between. From a linguistic point of view, the massive spread and the growing user-friendliness have completely changed the relationship between the new generations and images; form a pedagogic point of view, the possibility of this progressive “dematerialization” and the existence of the Net allows to easily bring history of cinema into the class; furthermore, the spread of consumer devices produces an increase of film production in school, which is getting more and more important. Cinema needs to get off its specificity and to open up to digital and electronic media and measure against the “digital natives”, an unknown audience for italian school.
As Lino Miccichè wrote at the end of the Nineties, there can’t be pedagogy without literacy. So, as the media horizon changes in front of the digital, it gets urgent to build a film literacy model which can be able to explore the network of apparatus, the technological/ontological nature, the relationship with the “forefathers”, the analogical image and the electronic image and their linguistic intersections. In film literacy, cinema genres figure out as peculiar, each image’s DNA is rooted in a precise area of history implying different and peculiar literacy paths; at the meantime, however, film production at school is passing by a great transformation: from the classical short films to hybrid films mixing fiction and nonfiction, from participative videos to audiovisual experimentation. A richness, a turmoil to be analyzed in order to build the future of film literacy at school in this period of great institutional changes.