Fabrizzio Torero – Appreciation for British Noir

Faculty shout-out from Dr. Kaveh Askari: One of the first memorable conversations I had with a student at MSU was with Fabrizzio. It was after an introductory lecture, to ninety students, during week one of my new job. I was intrigued by this first-year student who approached me after class and wanted to talk about obscure films by Agnès Varda that I had not seen in years. I have been lucky to work with Fabrizzio in multiple classes over the years. He consistently seeks out the most challenging material in the course. It has been a pleasure to engage with his original writing about topics ranging from new wave cinemas to experimental video art in Beirut. I look forward to following his career and to checking in, periodically, about whatever happens to be driving his deep intellectual curiosity at the moment.

Faculty shout-out from Dr. Justus Nieland: Fabrizzio is a whip-smart and terrifically surprising student. In the first class I had him in, he was very quiet in discussions, and then would submit the kind nuanced and deeply intelligent written work that wowed me with its critical acumen and maturity of voice. He can pack so many fascinating ideas into just one sentence! Happily, I got to know Fabrizzio better during our 2019 Film in Britain trip. I remember sitting next to Fabrizzio during a group lunch in Windsor, and somehow, the conversation moved from favorite movies to novels. Turned out that Fabrizzio and I shared a love for the novels of Roberto Bolaño! Throughout the trip, Fabrizzio demonstrated not just this deep intellectual range, but also a real kindness and gentleness of spirit that I really appreciated.

How would you describe your time as an English or Film Studies major at MSU?

My time as a Film Studies major has been great, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of my film classes and professors, and am grateful for the experiences I’ve had due to my program. I still remember my first day in Intro to Film, feeling at home in the department and right in my decision to follow my interest, and the varying courses I’ve experienced and instructors I’ve gotten to know have only amplified and reinforced that feeling.

Which classes, instructors, or experiences particularly stand out for you and why? How did they prepare you for the next phase of your life?

All of my classes I’ve taken with Kaveh Askari have offered me a profound, holistic way, of viewing film and all the components that fall into it. The courses exposed me to artists and filmmakers I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise without Professor Askari’s guidance, many of which have gained much personal significance in my life. His classes, specifically the two 451’s I took with him, Cinemas of the Middle East and North Africa and Recycled Cinema, are high among my favorite classes I’ve had during my time at MSU.

Film in Britain with Justus Nieland and Pete Johnston was definitely one of the highlights of my entire college experience, getting to participate in film culture through festivals and screenings and talks was something I had always longed for and this study abroad gave that to me in spades, with the courses themselves offering me an introduction to the much-needed for me basics of film production and editing under the setting of another culture, through Professor Johnston’s 260 class, as well as giving me an expansive and thought-inducing manner of thinking about genre through Professor Nieland’s British Noir class.

Contemporary Film Theory with Ellen McCallum was another favorite class of mine. Professor McCallum’s consistent comments on me and my peers’ writing were incredibly helpful and always pushed me to better my construction of thoughts, and films we viewed and readings we were assigned were equally challenging and moving to me, leading to many memorable class discussions. 

The classes I took with Jordan Schonig I value highly for the sense of community they offered. Professor Schonig’s courses always led to free-flowing, often humorous, and often provocative class discussions, his manner of teaching theory and gender and sexuality in Film was always thought-provoking and a highlight of my week.

What advice would you give future English or Film Studies majors, based on your experiences in the department?

I would tell future Film Studies majors to take advantage of the various resources the department offers, and to not be scared of reaching out to professors’ and participating in other events hosted by the department, like Broad Underground and Film Collective.

What coursework-related projects were/are you working on this year, and what interests or excites you about them? 

I got the chance in Professor Askari’s Recycled Cinema class to make my own recycled media project. I decided to focus on Lima, and digging through archival and found footage from various sources and trying to turn these fragments into a whole, was one of the most meaningful experiences I’ve had with a course project.

What are your hopes and aspirations, post-graduation? 

I am still not sure what I want to do, or am going to do post-graduation, but I hope to be surrounded by a creative community that inspires and supports me, similar to the one I found in the Film Studies department.

Despite the many challenges of being a senior, support offered by my professors’, peers, and friends, has made it a memorable year full of positive, defining, academic and social experiences.