After Neorealism: Italian Filmmakers and Their Films; Essays and Interviews

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9781443803588: After Neorealism: Italian Filmmakers and Their Films; Essays and Interviews

The term 'neorealism' was first applied by the critic Antonio Pietrangeli to Visconti's 'Ossessione' (1942), and the style came to fruition in the mid-to-late forties in such films of Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, and Vittorio De Sica as 'Rome, Open City' (1945), 'Shoeshine' (1946), 'Paisan' (1947), 'Bicycle Thieves' (1948), and 'The Earth Trembles' (1948). These pictures reacted not only against the banality that had long been the dominant mode of Italian cinema, but also against prevailing socioeconomic conditions in Italy. With minimal resources, the neorealist filmmakers worked in real locations using local people as well as professional actors; they improvised their scripts, as need be, on site; and, their films conveyed a powerful sense of the plight of ordinary individuals oppressed by political circumstances beyond their control. Thus Italian neorealism was the first postwar cinema to liberate filmmaking from the artificial confines of the studio and, by extension, from the Hollywood-originated studio system. But neorealism was the expression of an entire moral or ethical philosophy, as well, and not simply just another new cinematic style. 'After Neorealism: Italian Filmmakers and Their Films' is an attempt, through essays and interviews, to chronicle what happened to neorealism after the disappearance of the forces that produced it - World War II, the resistance, and liberation, followed by the postwar reconstruction of a morally, politically, and economically devastated society. In fact, neorealism did not disappear: it changed its form but not its profoundly humanistic concerns, depending on the filmmaker and the film. Neorealistic stylistic and thematic principles have been perpetuated not only by the first generation of directors who succeeded latter-day neorealists like Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni, but also by the second generation of auteurs to succeed these two artists. Among members of that first generation we may count Ermanno Olmi, with his compassionate studies of working-class life like 'Il Posto' (1961), and Francesco Rosi, with his vigorous attacks on the abuse of power such as 'Salvatore Giuliano' (1961). They are joined, among others, by Pier Paolo Pasolini ('Accattone', 1961), Vittorio De Seta ('Banditi a Orgosolo', 1961), Marco Bellocchio ('I pugni in tasca', 1965), and the Taviani brothers, Vittorio and Paolo ('Padre Padrone', 1977). And these filmmakers themselves have been followed by Gianni Amelio ('Stolen Children', 1990), Nanni Moretti ('The Mass Is Ended', 1988), Giuseppe Tornatore ('Cinema Paradiso', 1988), and Maurizio Nichetti ('The Icicle Thief', 1989). From this diverse group, 'After Neorealism: Italian Filmmakers and Their Films' includes interviews with, and essays about, Olmi, Pasolini, Amelio, and Moretti, with pieces as well on such seminal figures as Visconti, Fellini, and Antonioni. Also included are a long, contextualizing introduction, filmographies of the directors treated in this book, and bibliographies of books about them as well as about Italian cinema in general.

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About the Author:

Bert Cardullo is Professor and Chair of Media and Communication at the Izmir University of Economics in Izmir, Turkey. He is the author, editor, or translator of over thirty books, among them What Is Neorealism?, Vittorio De Sica: Director, Actor, Screenwriter, Federico Fellini: Interviews, and Michelangelo Antonioni: Interviews. He writes regularly on contemporary cinema for such journals as the Yale Review and Cambridge Quarterly.

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