Nolletti, Arthur, Jr. 1941–

views updated

Nolletti, Arthur, Jr. 1941–

(Arthur Nolletti, Arthur Ernest Nolletti, Jr.)


Born May 17, 1941, in Wooster, OH; son of Arthur Ernest (a farmer and steel worker) and Vera (a beautician) Nolletti; married Diana Laney (a secretary), January 31, 1970; children: Alexandra Elizabeth. Ethnicity: "Italian-American." Education: Ohio University, A.B. (cum laude), 1963; University of Wisconsin—Madison, M.A., 1965, Ph.D., 1973. Religion: Roman Catholic.


Home—Marlboro, MA. Office—Department of English, Framingham State College, Framingham, MA 01701. E-mail—[email protected]


Framingham State College, Framingham, MA, began as assistant professor, became professor of film and literature, 1971-96, currently professor in English department, also presenter of international film series, 1997—. Danforth Museum, presenter of international film series, 1976-89; Film Criticism, member of editorial board.


Society of Cinema Studies.


National Endowment for the Humanities, grant, 1977, fellowship, 1979-80; awards from Northeast Asia Council, 1985, 1992, and Asian Cultural Council, 1992.


(Editor, with David Desser) Reframing Japanese Cinema: Authorship, Genre, History, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1992.

(Editor) The Films of Fred Zinnemann: Critical Perspectives, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 1999.

The Cinema of Gosho Heinosuke: Laughter through Tears, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 2005.

Contributor to periodicals, including Cinemaya, Jump Cut, Post Script, Film Quarterly, and Journal of Popular Film. Guest editor, Film Criticism, 1983, 1994.


Arthur Nolletti, Jr., once told CA: "Although I do various kinds of writing, my main focus has been film criticism. This has come out of a lifelong love of film, a medium which not only introduced me to various world (languages, history, cultures), but which fascinated me in its own right and continues to do so today. Looking back on my early life and my college years, I realize that, whatever else I was doing and formally studying, I was preparing for my work in film—teaching it and writing about it. This meant seeing everything and being fortunate enough to grow up during that exciting period in the late fifties and early sixties when various ‘new waves’ of film were complemented by the presence of influential critics, among them the one who influenced me most, Stanley Kauffmann. This also meant taking whatever opportunity I was given to write about film, dabble in filmmaking, and read widely about film. Film as an academic subject was only getting started when I was in college, so I majored in English literature and immersed myself in the liberal arts. This, I now believe, was a blessing in disguise, for if I could have studied film formally, I would have jumped at the chance and perhaps, in the process, might have denied myself the broader training that I think is truly essential for appreciating the pluralistic art that film is.

"As one who has taught film, lectured on it, and written about it for more than thirty years, I have basically one goal: to share my passion and enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, the medium with others (especially young people, who need to recognize the treasure and rich tradition that is theirs). This explains, then, the work I have done and the choices I have made in that work, including—to cite just two examples—my anthology on Japanese film and a special issue of Film Criticism I initiated and edited on Fred Zinnemann. Although I find the actual writing process to be almost always a painful and exasperating process, I also find it deeply rewarding, for I feel that, if only in a small way, I have given something back to the medium that has enriched my life beyond measure."

Later, Nolletti added: "Writing about film brings together two of my passions: writing and film. These two passions are very much at the heart of why I write in the first place, and why I continue writing. As a teacher and scholar of film, I have never subscribed to the idea that one had to write in the jargon of the profession. On the contrary, I have always tried to write in as clear and direct a style as possible. I could name various writers whose style I admire, but one piece of writing I have always admired are the ‘headnotes’ in The Norton Anthology of English Literature, edited by M.H. Abrams and others. These headnotes not only are thoroughly informed and a pleasure to read, but they show that the writers have put themselves at the service of their subject. In my view, this sense of respect doesn't diminish or subvert their individual voices; just the opposite. It ennobles those voices.

"This, in sum, is what I try to emulate in my own critical and scholarly writing. I want to be clear and informative and to serve my subject. In doing so, I don't see that there is any very great difference between ‘critical’ writing and ‘fiction’ writing. In discussing a film, for example, I try to recreate that film through descriptive details that bring it alive to my reader, who may or may not have seen it. The idea is to make the film come alive, to convey its feeling, to capture its look and texture. Along the same lines, I feel privileged to be writing on subjects that I know to be important, if little known, parts of film history. (These are the subjects toward which I tend to gravitate.)

"The Cinema of Gosho Heinosuke: Laughter through Tears, is a study of Heinosuke Gosho, a Japanese director who made nearly 100 films in a forty-five-year career. Only a handful of his films have been shown in the West, and none are available to non-Japanese speakers. So my job in writing about this important figure is to fill in one essential piece of the overall puzzle that we call Japanese cinema and world cinema. At the same time I must help readers 'see' Gosho's films until the day comes that these films will be available on videotape, DVD, or whatever.

"My writing process is probably not unlike that of most other writers. Once I have finished all my research (and this itself is a huge, painstaking process) I begin the writing. For all practical purposes, I become a recluse—and a driven one at that. When writing, I cannot do anything but write—or to be more correct, rewrite, for that is what my writing is: working and reworking, thinking and rethinking everything, until it reaches some stage of pristine satisfaction, or until I must let it go. The process itself is equal parts pleasure and pain, but once I get through sixty percent of the chapter or whatever, I can relax a little because I now know that this piece of writing will be finished. Until that point, however, I never truly know, and in this respect each new piece of writing—to resort to cliche—is like reinventing the wheel. It is hard work, but it's worth it."



Asian Cinema, spring-summer, 2006, Linda C. Ehrlich, review of The Cinema of Gosho Heinosuke: Laughter through Tears, pp. 256-258.

Film Quarterly, summer, 1993, Donald Kirihara, review of Reframing Japanese Cinema: Authorship, Genre, History, p. 49; fall, 2000, Leger Grindon, review of The Films of Fred Zinnemann: Critical Perspectives, p. 64.


State University of New York Press, (October 13, 2007), publisher's description of The Films of Fred Zinnemann: Critical Perspectives.