Neorealism – not the catchiest word for a film movement but it’s produced some of the most enduring images in film history and is influencing modern film makers all over the world.
It’s the subject of a one-day course at Phoenix with film expert James Harvey, on Sat 19 Nov.
He’ll take participants on a voyage through the historical lineage and lasting influence of neorealism from post-war cinema to today.
Towards the end of WWII, Italian filmmakers like Rossellini, de Sica and Visconti revolutionised the way films could be made. Essentially, the Italian studios were in a mess, damaged by wartime activity and lacking funds, so filmmakers took to the streets, using hand held cameras and relying on available light, using untrained actors, and capturing the lives of ordinary people struggling to just get by. The result was films such as The Bicycle Thief and Rome, Open City, influential films which are regularly cited as classics.
As James puts it, “Dissolving lines between fiction and documentary, amateur and professional, the likes of Rossellini, de Sica and Visconti challenged fascism from within the space of a film with memorable, poetic masterpieces. The works of Italian neorealism produced some of the lasting images of cinema history.”
The genre has gone on to influence other movements in film history, from so-called ‘Third Cinema’ in Africa and Latin America, through to the New Waves throughout the Middle East and the Eastern Bloc.
Other films relevant to the course include Dariush Mehrjui’s 1969 film The Cow, Cristian Mungiu’s 2007 work 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, and Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy from 2008.
And it’s possible that Ken Loach’s prize winning I, Daniel Blake – with its emphasis on current social context, political commentary and documentary style of cinematography – is the latest of these films. One thing’s for sure, the neorealistic style is alive and well in modern cinema.
Neorealisms, runs from 10.30am – 4pm on Sat 19 Nov. Book your place online now or speak to a member of our Box Office team.