He agreed in principle, he said, with the neo-realist idea of taking films from life but he redefined it for himself as "looking at reality with an honest eye - but any kind of reality; not just social reality, but also spiritual reality, metaphysical reality. Major Works Ossessione (1943) In retrospect, the appearance of Viscontis Ossessione (Obsession, 1943) made it clear that something original was brewing within Italian cinema. Assisted by a number of young Italian intellectuals associated with the review Cinema, visconti took cains 'hard-boiled' novel (without paying for the rights) and turned the crisp, first-person narrative voice of the American work into a more omniscient, objective camera style, as obsessed with highly. Visconti reveals an Italy that includes not only the picturesque and the beautiful but also the tawdry, the ordinary, and the insignificant. Simple gestures, glances, and the absence of any dramatic action characterize the most famous sequence in the film: world-weary giovanna (Clara calamai) enters her squalid kitchen, takes a bowl of pasta, and begins to eat, reading the newspaper, but falls asleep from exhaustion. Postwar critics praised neorealist cinema for respecting the duration of real time in such scenes. Equally original in the film is Viscontis deflation of the 'new' man that Italian Fascism had promised to produce.
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The early films of pier paolo pasolini (19221975 bernardo bertolucci (b. 1940 marco bellocchio (b. 1931) and Vittorio (b. 1929) taviani, and Ermanno Olmi (b. 1931 particularly those shot in black and white, returned in some measure to finish the conventions of documentary photography, nonprofessional actors, authentic locations, and social themes. But this second generation also combined lessons from their neorealist predecessors with very different ideas taken from the French New wave, and they were far more committed (with the exception of Olmi) to an aggressively marxist worldview. Olmi continued to be true to the neorealist preference for nonprofessional actors in such important works as Il posto (The job, 1961 i fidanzati (The fiancees, 1963 lalbero degli zoccoli (The Tree of the wooden Clogs, 1978 and Il mestiere delle armi (Profession of Arms. The neorealist heritage may still be detected, with a postmodern twist, in the cinema of Nanni moretti (b. 1953 such as Caro diario (Dear diary, 1993) and the more recent la stanza del figlio (The sons room, 2001). The last word on this goes to fellini.
Rossellinis 'cinema of the essay reconstruction' in viaggio in Italia (voyage in Italy, 1954 starring Ingrid Bergman, marks his move away from the problems of the working class or the partisan experience to explore psychological problems, middle-class protagonists, and a more complex camera style not unlike. Legacy "Italian neorealism also had a worldwide impact as a model for an oppositional cinema against the hollywood commercial cinema. The working methods of neorealism offered a way to produce films without large financial resources. The stories of common men, often played by nonprofessional actors, inspired filmmakers in Europe such as the directors of the French New wave school of the late 1950s and early 1960s championed by critic André bazin, who were heavily influenced by rossellinis paisan ". 2 jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, jacques rivette, eric Rohmer embraced neorealism as proof that filmmaking could be possible without a huge industrial structure behind it and that filmmakers could be as creative as novelists. In particular, they appreciated the psychological move beyond neorealist themes in the works of Antonioni and Rossellini. "Neorealisms influence can also be seen in the cinema novo of Brazil, the Free cinema of Britain, the nova vlna of czechoslovakia, the Third Cinema of Argentina, in Egyptian neorealism, the mexican films of Bunñel such as Los Olvidados (The forgotten Ones, 1950 and even. 2 even in Hollywood in the immediate postwar period, such important works as Jules Dassin s The naked City (1948) and Edward Dmytryks give us This day (1949) aka christ in Concrete show the direct influence of neorealisms preference for authentic locations within the American. Most importantly, however, a second generation of Italian directors reacted directly to the model of the neorealist cinema.
Also, the Italian public was more interested in Italian films that employed, however obliquely, the cinematic codes of Hollywood or in the vast numbers of films imported from Hollywood itself. Besides resistance at the box office, where ordinary Italians preferred Hollywood works or Italian films with a hollywood flavor, even the most famous neorealist directors soon became uncomfortable with the restrictive boundaries imposed upon their subject matter or style by well-meaning leftist critics, Italian intellectuals. As mentioned before, in Italian cinematic history this transitional phase of development is often called the 'crisis' of neorealism. In retrospect, it was the critics who were suffering an intellectual slip crisis; during this period from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, Italian cinema was evolving naturally toward a film language concerned more with psychological problems and a visual style no longer defined solely by the. Three early films by michelangelo Antonioni ( fellini, and Rossellini are crucial to this development. Cronaca di un amore (Story of a love affair, 1950 Antonionis first feature film, is a film noir in which the directors distinctive photographic signature is already evident, with its characteristic long shots, tracks, and pans following the actors, and modernist editing techniques judy that attempt. Fellinis la strada (1954), awarded an Oscar for Best Foreign Language film, is a poetic parable that explores a particular Fellinian mythology concerned with spiritual poverty and the necessity for grace or salvation (defined in a strictly secular sense).
The film begins with a scene of police breaking up a demonstration of old pensioners, and it ends with Umberto 's aborted suicide attempt". 3 In a public letter to de sica, andreotti castigated him for his wretched service to his fatherland: If it is true that evil can be fought by harshly spotlighting its most miserable aspects, it is also true that de sica has rendered a poor. Controversy over tax breaks and subsidies also clouded pietro germis semi-film noir about a troubled youth, gioventù perduta (Lost youth, 1947 a situation that would repeat for Germis emigration drama Il cammino della speranza (The road of Hope, 1950). The "Crisis" of neorealism In spite of the fact that Italian intellectuals and social critics preferred the implicitly political and sometimes even revolutionary messages of the neorealist classics, the public preferred Hollywood works or Italian films made in the hollywood spirit. While the key works of Italian neorealism helped to change the direction of the art form and remain today original contributions to film language, they were, with the exception of Rome, open City, relatively unpopular in Italy. They were far more successful abroad and among filmmakers and critics. In addition, it became more and more difficult to make neorealist films, as political pressures to present a rosy view of Italy limited government financing from the ruling Christian Democratic party.
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This move coincided equestrian with a general drift away from the 'purer' neorealism of the period from 1944 to 1948". 3, one of the paradoxes of the neorealist era in Italian film history, an epoch that lasted no more than a decade, is that the ordinary people such films set out to portray were relatively uninterested in their self-image. In fact, of the approximately eight hundred films produced between the mid-1940s and the mid-1950s in Italy, only a relatively small number (about 10 percent) could be classified as neorealist, and most of these few works were box-office failures. After years of fascist dictatorship and the deprivations of war, Italians exploring were more interested in being entertained than in being reminded of their poverty. A number of less important but very interesting neorealist films were able to achieve greater popular success by incorporating traditional Hollywood genres within their narratives, thereby expanding the boundaries of traditional film realism. This group of commercially successful works include vivere in pace (to live in peace, 1947) by luigi zampa (19051991 a comical view of Germans, Italians, and Allied soldiers at war that cannot help but bring to mind the world War ii tv sitcom Hogans Heroes.
These four films reflect a shift from the war themes of Rossellini to the interest in postwar reconstruction typical of de sicas best efforts, but they are even more important as an indication of how the Italian cinema moved gradually closer toward conventional American themes. Neorealist style in these films becomes more and more of a hybrid, combining some elements identified with neorealism with others taken from the commercial cinema of Hollywood or Rome. "Some filmmakers sought to acquire a neorealist look by shooting traditional romances and melodramas in regions that would supply picturesque local color. Other directors explored allegorical fantasy - such as in de sica's Miracolo a milano (Miracle in Milan, 1951) and Rossellini's la macchina ammazzacattivi (The machine to kill Bad people, 1952) - or historical spectacle (such as Visconti's Senso ). There also emerged rosy neorealism, films that melded workingclass characters with 1930s-style populist comedy. Against this background, de sica and zavattini's Umberto. (1952), which depicted the lonely life of a retired man, could only strike officials as a dangerous throwback.
Ossessione, he stormed out of the theater shouting, "This is not Italy!" Most neorealist films elicited a similar reaction from postwar officials. The portrait of a desolate, poverty-stricken country outraged politicians anxious to prove that Italy was on the road to democracy and prosperity. The catholic Church condemned many films for their anticlericalism and their portrayal of sex and working-class life. Leftists attacked the films for their pessimism and lack of explicit political commitment". 3, in particular, de sica was criticized for "washing Italys dirty laundry in public" by giulio andreotti, a christian Democratic politician who was later to become one of Italys most powerful prime ministers. "Few neorealist works were popular with the public.
Audiences were more drawn to the American films that came flooding into Italy. The state undersecretary in charge of entertainment, giulio andreotti, found a way of slowing the advance of American films while also curbing the embarra ssing excesses of neorealism. The so-called Andreotti law, which went into effect in 1949, not only established import limits and screen"s but also provided loans to production firms. To receive a loan, however, a government committee had to approve the script, and films with an apolitical slant were rewarded with larger sums. Worse, a film could be denied an export license if it "slandered Italy". The Andreotti law created preproduction censorship.
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(1952) ; and Viscontis, la terra trema (The earth Trembles, 1948). Italian neorealist films stressed social themes (the war, the resistance, poverty, unemployment they seemed to reject traditional Hollywood dramatic and cinematic conventions; they often privileged on-location shooting rather than studio work, as well as the documentary photographic style the favored by many directors under the former. Film historians have unfortunately tended to speak of neo-realism as if it were an authentic movement with universally agreed-upon stylistic or thematic principles. While the controlling fiction of the best neorealist works was that they dealt with universal human problems, contemporary stories, and believable characters from everyday life, the best neorealist films never completely denied cinematic conventions, nor did they always totally reject Hollywood codes. The basis for the fundamental change in cinematic history marked by Italian neorealism was less an agreement on a single, unified cinematic style than a common aspiration to view Italy without preconceptions and to employ a more honest, ethical, but no less poetic, cinematic language. These masterpieces by rossellini, de sica, and Visconti are indisputably major works of art that capture the spirit of postwar Italian culture and remain original contributions to film language. But with the exception. Rome, open City, they were relatively unpopular within Italy and achieved success primarily among intellectuals and foreign critics. "Back in 1942, when Vittorio mussolini, the head of the film industry, saw Visconti's.
Neorealist film and literature replaced an official cinema and literature characterized by pompous rhetoric and a lack of interest in the"dian and the commonplace. Cesare zavattini, who functions as a kind of godfather of the movement, stated: "This powerful desire of the neo-realist cinema to see and to analyze, this hunger for reality, for truth, is a kind of concrete homage to other people, that is, to all who. Breezy fare this is not, but it did significantly alter European filmmaking and eventually cinema around the world. Neo-realism reflected a new freedom in Italy and the willingness to pose provocative questions about what movies could. As director giuseppe bertolucci (Bernardo's brother) noted: "The cinema was born with neo-realism.". Postwar neorealism: a brief Decade, with the fall of Mussolini and the end of the war, international audiences were suddenly introduced to Italian films through a few great works by rossellini, de shopper sica, and Luchino visconti that appeared in less than a decade after 1945. Roma, città aperta (Rome, open City, 1945) and, paisà (Paisan, 1946 de sicas, sciuscià (Shoeshine, 1946 ladri di biciclette (The bicycle Thieves, 1948 and.
realism in film was the brilliant use of nonprofessional actors by rossellini, de sica, and Visconti, though many of the films accepted as neorealist depended upon excellent performances by seasoned professional actors. Some film historians have tended to portray neo-realism as an authentic movement with universally agreed-upon stylistic or thematic principles. In fact, Italian neorealist cinema represents a hybrid of traditional and more experimental techniques. Moreover, political expediency often motivated interpretations of postwar neorealism that overlooked the important elements of continuity between realist films made during the fascist era and realist films made by the neorealists. After 1945, no one in the film industry wanted to be associated with Mussolini and his discredited dictatorship, and most Italian film critics were marxists; neorealisms ancestry was thus largely ignored. The most influential critical appraisals of Italian neorealism today emphasize the fact that Italian neorealist cinema rested upon artifice as much as realism and established, in effect, its own particular realist conventions. All too many early assessments of Italian neorealism focused lazily upon the formulaic statement that Italian neorealism meant no scripts, no actors, no studios, and no happy endings. In the 1964 edition of his first resistance novel, Il sentiero dei nidi di ragno (The path to the nest of Spiders, 1947 Italo calvino (19231985) reminded his readers that Italian neorealism was never a school with widely shared theoretical principles. Rather, it arose from a number of closely associated discoveries of an Italian popular culture that had traditionally been ignored by 'high' Italian culture.
So what is neo-realism? André bazin called it a cinema of 'fact' and 'reconstituted reportage having its antecedents in the national anti-fascist movement with which these directors identified. Although they owed a debt to renoir (with whom both Luchino visconti and Michelangelo Antonioni had worked the neo-realists respected the entirety of the reality they filmed. This meant occasionally showing scenes in real-time and always resisting the temptation to manipulate by editing. Scenes are shot on location, with no professional extras and often a largely unprofessional cast. Set in rural areas or working-class neighborhoods, the stories focus on everyday people, often children, with an emphasis on the unexceptional routines of ordinary life. Neorealism preferred location shooting rather than studio work, as well as the grainy kind of photography associated with documentary newsreels. While it is true that, for a while, the film studios were unavailable after the war, neorealist directors shunned them primarily because they wanted to show what was going on in the streets and piazzas of Italy immediately after the war. Contrary to the belief that explains on-location shooting by its supposed lower cost, such filming often cost much more than work in the more easily controlled studios; in the streets, it was never possible to predict lighting, weather, and the unforeseen occurrence of money-wasting disturbances.
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Jean Renoir 's, tnt toni (1935) and Alessandro Blassetti's 1860 (1934) influenced neo-realism, but the movement was to a great extent a matter of 1940s practicalities: with Cinécitta (Rome's studio complex) relegated to refugees, films had to be shot outside. Surrounded by the shambolic ruins of World War ii, human and structural, filmmakers had ready-made drama even in their backdrop, the atmosphere anxiety-charged and utterly uncertain. After twenty-one years under Mussolini, all bets were off as to what direction Italy would take. In the war's aftermath, members of the resistance (including several of the neo-realist directors) had to come to terms those who collaborated. Though unstated, this almost civil war-like tension fuels neo-realist cinema. Characteristics, ideologically, the characteristics of Italian neorealism were: a new democratic spirit, with emphasis on the value of ordinary people a compassionate point of view and a refusal to make facile (easy) moral judgements a preoccupation with Italy's Fascist past and its aftermath of wartime. Stylistically, italian neorealism was: an avoidance of neatly plotted stories in favor of loose, episodic structures that evolve organically a documentary visual style the use of actual locations - usually exteriors - rather than studio sites the use of nonprofessional actors, even for principal roles.