The Journal of the AGLSP


Filippo Trentin, PhD

Filippo Trentin, PhD


Exploring is rewarded in Penn’s Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts 

The critical accolades and commercial success of Moonlight (dir. Barry Jenkins) and Call Me By Your Name (dir. Luca Guadagnino) show a resurgence of interest in films that portray sex and love outside of Hollywood romantic comedy conventions. In an online course titled “Sex, Love, and Desire in Art Cinema,” Penn instructor Filippo Trentin invites graduate students to discuss and interpret these recent films in the context of art-house cinema from the 1960s to the present. “What I think is happening in contemporary queer films is the return of a slow-moving and consciously melancholic, old-fashioned—even outdated—form of film-making,” says Trentin. 

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Featuring films by Jean-Luc Godard, David Lynch, and Wong Kar-wai, the online course is a cinephile’s delight—but Trentin observes that even students new to cinema studies can benefit from learning to read and write about film. “Film courses teach a vocabulary for talking about something that all of us have done since we were kids—going to the movies,” he explains. “Learning the style and influences of a filmmaker, as well as the context of a film, really helps to understand it in a deeper way.” Last fall, Trentin’s online course attracted students from Penn’s Master of Liberal Arts program—some of whom were working adults who connected to the classroom after business hours—as well as business administration students logging on from San Francisco. Trentin himself led the class from Berlin, where he was conducting his postdoctoral research. “I love being in a room with students, but online courses offer an amazing level of accessibility to both students and instructors,” says Trentin.

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Available in summer 2019, “Sex, Love, and Desire in Art Cinema” is an example of the advanced interdisciplinary coursework that characterizes the Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts at the University of Pennsylvania. Ideal for lifelong learners who previously completed a master’s degree in the liberal arts, Penn’s MPhil offers the independence of self-directed study with the expertise of world-class faculty and advising. Available on a full- or part-time basis, students select the courses that develop their interests and fit their schedules. Now offering interactive, multimedia online learning experiences that excite discussion and deep engagement, the MPhil program rewards exploration for individuals with a passion for academic pursuits. 

Contact our program director, Dr. Christopher Pastore, to schedule an appointment to review your current research and explore your options for pursuing a Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts at Penn.

(215) 898-7326