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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Professor John David Rhodes

Photo of JD Rhodes
Professor of Film Studies and Visual Culture
MMLL Faculty Co-chair
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Graduate Studies
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
(+44) (0)1223 339391

Corpus Christi College 
University of Cambridge 


John David Rhodes has published widely on European and American cinema and maintains a special interest in Italian cinema. He is interested in putting cinema into conversation with other artistic, cultural, and material forms. The relationship between the cinema and the built environment has been a consistent theme across his work. Most recently he has published Spectacle of Property: The House in American Film. This book proposes a critique of private property and cinema spectatorship through a consideration of particular architectural styles of dwelling and their appearance in cinema. The book was hailed in Critical Inquiry for the way in which it ‘points cinema studies in new directions that should inspire scholarship, teaching, and debate about space, modernity, and Hollywood history’.

His first book, Stupendous, Miserable City: Pasolini's Rome, interprets Pasolini's cinema and poetry as deeply felt political responses to Rome's enormous expansion in the postwar period. He also maintains an interest in avant garde cinema, one product of which is a recent book on Maya Deren's Meshes of the Afternoon, for the BFI's Film Classics series. He has co-edited three volumes of essays: On Michael Haneke (with Brian Price); Taking Place: Location and the Moving Image (with Elena Gorfinkel); and Antonioni: Centenary Essays (with Laura Rascaroli). He is a founding co-editor of World Picture, an online journal primarily dedicated to theoretical and philosophical approaches to media.

Materially underway are two further books: ‘Disembowelled Vision’, a book on Roman urban modernity and cinema, and ‘Belaboured’, a study of the relationship between style and labour, situated at the intersection of film history, aesthetic theory, and the critique of political economy. A third, more experimental project, ‘Notes for a Book on Pier Paolo Pasolini’, is also in the works.

Professor Rhodes offers supervision across a range of topics in Italian, European, American, and international cinema; aesthetic theory; queer theory; the history and theory of modernism in film, literature and the other arts; cinema and the built environment, as well as in other (often interdisciplinary) topics and areas.

Professor Rhodes welcomes inquiries from potential MPhil and PhD students with research interests relevant to his interests.

Published works: 


  • Spectacle of Property: The House in American Film (University of Minnesota Press, 2017)
  • Meshes of the Afternoon (BFI Film Classics/British Film Institute/Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) [New edition, with foreword (BFI Film Classics/Bloomsbury, 2020)].
  • Stupendous, Miserable City: Pasolini's Rome (University of Minnesota Press, 2007)

Books - Edited Collections

  • Taking Place: Location and the Moving Image, co-edited with Elena Gorfinkel (University of Minnesota Press, 2011)
  • Michelangelo Antonioni: Centenary Essays, co-edited with Laura Rascaroli (British Film Institute/Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)
  • On Michael Haneke, co-edited with Brian Price (Wayne State University Press, 2010)

Articles - Book Chapters

  • ‘Passing Through: The Black Maid in the Cinematic Suburbs, 1948-1949’. Race and the Suburbs in American Film, Merrill Schleier, ed. Albany: SUNY Press, 2021. 31-52.
  • ‘Dante on Screen’. The Oxford Handbook of Dante, Manuele Gragnolati, Elena Lombardi, and Francesca Southerden, eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021. 619-33.
  • ‘Architectures of Ubiquity: The Colonial Revival in Film and Television’. Film and Domestic Space: Architectures, Representations, Dispositif, Stefano Baschiera and Miriam De Rosa, eds. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020.16-36.
  • L’avventura’. Italian Cinema from the Silent Screen to the Digital Image, Joseph Luzzi, ed. London: Bloomsbury, 2020. 329-334.
  • ‘D’Errico’s Stramilano’. The City Symphony Phenomenon, Steven Jacobs, Anthony Klinik and Eva Hielscher, eds.  New York and London: Routledge and the American Film Institute, 2019), 96-105.
  • ‘Abstraction and the Geopolitical: Lessons from Antonioni’s Trip to China’. World Cinemas, Global Networks, Elena Gorfinkel and Tami Williams, eds. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2018. 53-76. [English translation of 2015 publication]
  • ‘Watching Italians Turn Around: Gender, Looking, and Roman/Cinematic Modernity’, A Companion to Italian Cinema, Frank Burke, ed. (Malden, MA and Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2017), 408-426
  • ​‘Geopolitica e astrazione: la Cina di Michelangelo Antonioni’, Alberto Boschi and Francesco Di Chiara, eds. Michelangelo Antonioni. prospettive, culture, politiche, spazi (Milan: Il Castoro, 2015), 184-203
  • ​‘Topophilia and other Roman Perversions’, Rome: Postmodern Narratives of a Cityscape, Dom Holdaway and Filippp Trenti, eds. (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2013), 79-100
  • ‘“Our beautiful and glorious art lives”: The rhetoric of nationalism in early Italian film periodicals’, Italian Silent Cinema: A Reader, Giorgio Bertellini, ed. (New Barnet: John Libbey, 2013), 263-74 [reprinted from Film History 12 (Fall 2000)—see below]
  • ‘Fassbinder’s Work: Style, Sirk, and Queer Labor’, A Companion to Fassbinder, Brigitte Peucker, ed. (Malden, MA and Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2012), 181-203
  • ‘The Matter of Places’ (with Elena Gorfinkel), Taking Place: Location and the Moving Image. John David Rhodes and Elena Gorfinkel, eds. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), vii-xxv
  • ‘The Eclipse of Place: Rome’s EUR, from Rossellini to Antonioni’, Taking Place: Location and the Moving Image. John David Rhodes and Elena Gorfinkel, eds. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), 31-54
  • ‘Interstitial, Pretentious, Alienated, Dead: Antonioni at 100’ (with Laura Rascaroli), Antonioni: Centenary Essays. Laura Rascaroli and John David Rhodes, eds. (London: British Film Institute/Palgrave, 2011), 1-17
  • ‘Antonioni and the Development of Style’, Antonioni: Centenary Essays. Laura Rascaroli and John David Rhodes, eds. (London: British Film Institute/Palgrave, 2011), 276-300
  • ‘Pasolini’s Exquisite Flowers: “The ‘Cinema of Poetry’” as a Theory of Art Cinema’, Global Art Cinema: New Theories and Practices. Rosalind Galt and Karl Schoonover, eds. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 142-163
  • ‘The Spectacle of Skepticism: Haneke’s Long Takes’, On Michael Haneke. Brian Price and John David Rhodes, eds. (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2010), 87-102
  • ‘Allegory, mise-en-scène, AIDS: Interpreting Safe’, The Cinema of Todd Haynes. James Morrison, ed.  (London: Wallflower Press, 2007), 68-78
  • Divorzio all’italiana’, The Cinema of Italy. Giorgio Bertellini, ed. (London: Wallflower Press, 2004), 113-121 [9 pages]

Articles - Journals

  • ‘Temporary Accommodation: Joanna Hogg’s Cinema of Dispossession’. Film Quarterly 73, no. 3 (Spring 2020): 12-20.
  • ‘Art Cinema’s Immaterial Labors’. Diacritics 46, no. 4, (2018): 96-116.
  • ‘Visual Pleasure at 40’ (dossier), edited with introduction, Screen 56:4 (Winter 2015), 471-485
  • ‘This Was Not Cinema: Judgment, Action, and Barbara Hammer’, Film Criticism 39:2 (Winter 2014-15), 115-136
  • ‘From Ruin to Ritual’, Screen 55:4 (Winter 2014), 494-99
  • ‘Peggy Ahwesh dossier Introduction’, Screen 55:4 (Winter 2014), 490-93 (co-written with Elena Gorfinkel, co-editor of dossier)
  • ‘The Spectacle of Property’, The Third Rail, Issue 3 (Spring 2014), 49-51
  • ‘Watchable bodies: Salò’s young non-actors’, Screen 53:4 (Winter 2012), 453-58
  • ‘Belabored: The Work of Style’, Framework 53:1 (Spring 2012), 47-64
  • ‘Notes on Cinematic Desire (For Louis)’, World Picture 4 (Spring 2010)
  • ‘Collective Anxiety: Corviale, Rome, and the Legacy of ’68’, Log 13/14 (Fall 2008), 75-86
  • ‘Talking Ugly’, World Picture 1 (spring 2008)
  • White Christmas, or Modernism’, Modernism/Modernity 13: 2 (April 2006) 292-308
  • ‘“Concentrated Ground”: Grey Gardens and the Cinema of the Domestic’, Framework 47:1 (spring 2006), 83-105
  • ‘“Scandalous Desecration”: Accattone Against the Neorealist City’, Framework 45:1   (spring 2004), 7-33
  • ‘Peggy Ahwesh’, Great Directors Database, Senses of Cinema (first published in vol. 29, November/December 2003).
  • ‘“Our beautiful and glorious art lives”: The rhetoric of nationalism in early Italian film periodicals’, Film History 12 (Fall 2000), 308-321