Italian Neorealist Cinema

Italian Neorealist Cinema

Italian Neorealist Cinema

Italian Neorealist Cinema

Synopsis

This series introduces diverse and fascinating movements in world cinema. Each volume concentrates on a set of films from a different national, regional or, in some cases, cross-cultural cinema which constitute a particular tradition.

Excerpt

‘… one feels that everything was done too fast and with too fierce a sin
cerity to run the risk of bogging down in mere artistry or meditativeness
[…] The film’s finest over-all quality […] is this immediacy.’

James Agee, review of Open City, 1946 (2000)

VIEWING HISTORY

What affinities there are between cinema, urban streets and history had been amply explored before Roberto Rossellini (1906–77) shot Rome, Open City (1945; Roma, città aperta), whose heroine is killed during a Nazi raid in the winter of 1944, a few months before the city is liberated. From the Lumière brothers’ pioneering views on work and quotidian moments in 1890s’ France, to the emergence of urban documentaries in 1920s’ Russian and German cinema and noir cities in 1940s’ Hollywood, the spatiotemporal capacities of the moving image to evoke the life that flows, privileging social milieu and collective events over individual conflict, had made filmmakers look to the streets the way Rossellini did only months after the events he depicted had taken place. Few moments in world cinema had, however, captured with such an immediacy those intrinsically cinematic streets where ‘history is made’ that Siegfried Kracauer singled out as a characteristic of cinematic realism (1960: 72; 98). When Pina falls lifeless in via Montecuccioli in front of her son; her fiancé; a partisan priest, who will soon face the same fate; and a neighbourhood unified in the claim to freedom, the world is brought to a . . .

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