Table of Contents


Italian Neorealist films

To sum up,

An opening

The 1940s saw the end the second World War. It also marked the beginning a new period in Italy’s history. In post-war Italy, this was the first time that a group made up of film critics, including Luchino Visconti and Gianni Puccini, Cesare Zvattini and Giuseppe De Santis, recognized the need to create a Neorealist style in Italian Cinema. These films were created less than a decade later. This essay will analyse and study four films considered to be among the most important examples of Italian Neorealist cinema: Roberto Rossellini’s Germania Anno Zero (1948), Vittorio di Scia’s Ladri di Biciclette/1948, and Umberto D (1952), as well as Federico Fellini’s La Strada (54).

Italian Neorealist films Italian Neorealist films are distinguished by their use of real locations and not studios. This is in contrast to Hollywood, which was a major feature. This helped to create the style of the Neorealist films. But it was also natural because the Cinecitta studios were destroyed during World War II. The real-life location became an “open, active and effective” way to carry the story forward, as Rossellini demonstrated in Germania Anno Zero. It is the film’s portrayal of old buildings that have been destroyed by war at the end and beginning that tells a story all its own. This story is about the hardships that war has brought to a once prosperous nation. Edmund, the film’s protagonist, is another testament to the hardships brought on by the war in multiple waves. Like other young characters in these films he portrays the loss and destruction of innocence for a whole generation. Edmund was one of many children who saw their “reassurance of sheltering domestic lives” destroyed. Boys were often forced to take the care of their families, and girls the responsibility of providing for them. Edmund is left with the burden of providing for his entire family. His guilt over poisoning his father to help his family survive and his father’s desire not to be a burden eventually causes him to commit suicide. Vittorio Del Sica’s Ladre di Bicilette portrays Bruno Ricci as an innocent witness to the inequalities of society. The story of his father’s theft and subsequent struggle to recover it becomes a lesson in life for this boy. He is then beaten by angry crowds and turned into a bike thief from desperation. Like Edmund, his innocence ends when he realizes that the lines between justice and injustice in war-torn societies are blurred or distorted to favor the wealthy. This is the very reason Ladri di Biciclette (The Bicycle Thieves), is the film’s title. Why would Antonio steal a bicycle from his home in desperate need? Was he really the first person to do this? Although the film doesn’t provide an answer, it does show that the government did not care enough to protect the welfare of the working class. Although Antonio seems capable of doing hard physical labor, Umberto is forced to go to the streets in retirement to get money because he cannot pay his rent. Umberto probably had a decent job as a youth but is ashamed to be seen begging in public. Flike, Umberto’s pet dog, helps him to beg when it is impossible for him. When he finally meets with his old acquaintance, however, he claims that Flike was just playing. This illustrates a crucial problem middle class men faced at that time. In the face of desperate times, men like Umberto worry more about their “outward appearances”, which include “a clean shirt and proper manners,” than they do earning a wage. This is because they fear losing their face and appearing poorer than poverty.

These films were notable for portraying life as it really is. Italic Neorealist films are very real thanks to the fact that they were shot in real locations, with minimal editing and unprofessional actors, and without the need for rehearsals. The contrast between Italy’s present prosperity and its past fall, as well as Umberto’s falling in front of the Pantheon, is brought out by the real-life locations. While the film uses professional actors to substitute for Umberto with a street actor, it forces the actors “to be before expressing”. Vittorio Di Sica’s Bruno transforms into a “silhouette”, face, and way of walking.

These films depict real and tragic stories, yet La Strada by Fellini also has a humorous aspect. These films have the same dramatic characters as other films but the humor comes from characters such as the Fool who act as comic relief. This film is not about tragedy or comedy, but rather it’s about presenting the reality inside man. This is why the film’s neorealism stands out from others in its time. The dialogue of Gelsomina (and the Fool) reveals the existential theme.

ConclusionBy 1950, Italy’s economy had substantially recovered from the Second World War aftermath. The realist themes of these films were no longer relevant to its audience. This was a key reason why this movement fell apart so quickly. This was due to the popularity of American films, which many viewers preferred to see Hollywood movies that featured optimistic themes. This movement had a lasting impact on filmmaking worldwide. The Indian Parallel Cinema was influenced by Italian Neorealism in India. In many ways, these films were influenced by the Italian Neorealist. Bimal Ray revealed that Vittorio di Sica’s Ladri di Biciclette inspired his creation of Do Bigha Zamin. This was the beginning of an Indian Cinema trend that distinguished itself from the commercial bollywood films with its themes and styles. The Italian Neorealist films featured different themes and styles. However, they are distinguished by their distinctive characteristics.