The Italian Neo-Realism Movement (1943-1952) I. Origins a. Response to Fascism b. Anti-Hollywood Artifice c. Cesare Zavattini – Neo-realist screenwriter (incl. Bicycle Thieves) who wrote a manifesto to guide filmmaking d. Film journals Cinema and Bianco e Nero i. Called for a cinema that resembled the realism of literature e. Influenced by Jean Renoir’s Toni (1935) and Alessandro Blassetti’s 1860 (1934) f. Influenced by American noir books and films II. Narrative a. Humanistic and moralistic philosophy with emphasis on contemporary social issues b.
Focus on ordinary people (especially the working class) and everyday life c. Bazin – Neo-realism gives the viewer “a sense of the ambiguity of the real” rather than the appearance of the real. III. Style a. Shot on location mostly in rural areas/working class neighborhoods and with natural light b. Gritty, documentary-like cinematography c. Post-synchronized sound (dubbing) d. Scenes in real time e. Used non-professional actors & conversational speech f. Plot evolves organically g. Lack of artifice in camerawork and editing IV.
Leading Directors & Films a. Roberto Rossellini (Open City, 1946; Paisan, 1946) b. Luchino Visconti (The Earth Trembles, 1948) c. Vittorio De Sica (Bicycle Thieves, 1948; Umberto D, 1951) V. Influence & Legacy a. Fellini and Antonioni i. Worked on neo-realist films early in their careers ii. Documented social realities as directors b. French New Wave (Late 1950s & 1960s) c. Dogme 95 (Denmark – 1995-2005) d. L. A. School of Black Independent Filmmakers (get dates) Italian Neorealism (1943-1952): • Social reality of normal Italians Location shooting and post-synchronized sound (dubbing of dialogue) • Use of non-professional actors • Documentary visual style • No contrived plots or “happy endings” • Bicycle Thieves (1948): o In Italian: Ladri di biciclette o Directed by Vittorio De Sica o Adapted from novel o Received honorary Academy Award in 1949 • Set in poverty-stricken Rome • Antonio Ricci unemployed for 2 years; gets a job hanging posters, but needs a bicycle • Antonio’s wife Maria pawns wedding linen to get bicycle out of hock • Bruno: their son PCA denied film its seal of approval because of two scenes • Italian Neorealism Sources: o Realism- attempt to represent people, objects or places in a naturalistic manner as opposed to an idealized way o Cesare Zavattini: theoretical founder o 1943: critic Umberto Barbaro first uses term neorealism • Poetic realism (France, 1930’s) o Hard-boiled writers and film noir (USA) • Visconti’s Ossessione (1942): based on John M. Cain’s novel The Postman Always Rings Twice; considered first neorealist film • Italian Neorealism Style: Location shooting- out of the studio and into the streets o Postsynchronized sound (dubbing) o Use of non-professional actors o Plot evolves organically o Everyday and/or conversational speech o Lack of artifice in camerawork and editing; a “styleless” style • Italian Neorealism Ideology: o Social Humanism- belief in the dignity and worth of all human beings o Value of ordinary people and everyday life o Concerns of working class, particularly children o Focus on the aftermath of World War II o Hope for future recovery (later, pessimism) Rome, Open City (1945): o Italian title: Roma citta aperta o Open city: form of surrender that protects city from attack o Historically-based story of resistance against German occupation of Rome • Giorgio, a resistance fighter, is pursued by the Nazis; he begs Pina, a widow engaged to his friend Francesco, for help; Pina is carrying Francesco’s child • Pina contacts Don Pietro, a Catholic priest who secretly aids the resistance • Giorgio is betrayed by his girlfriend; both he and Don Pietro are arrested by the Nazis o Raid scene Interrogation scene • Italian Neorealism Demise: o 1950’s: changing social conditions and improving economy o Government opposition to content: Andreotti Law (1949) • Government censorship of scripts • Offered production loans and subsidies only to filmmakers who made films “suitable … to the best interests of Italy” • Export licenses withheld from controversial films • Italian Neorealism Effects: Described as single most influential film movement in history o Revitalized Italian Cinema o 1950’s: India (Satyajit Ray), China, and Brazil o 1960’s: French New Wave o 1970’s: Los Angeles School of Black Independent Filmmakers o 1990’s: Dogme 95 (“vow of chastity)
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Italian Neorealism. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/italian-neorealism-new-essay
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