Neo-realism originated in Italy in the 1940s was an important movement in film history. Amidst the ruins after World War II and none of the studios could function normally, the Italians used actual locations, natural lighting and non-professional cast to lower the cost, and made a series of films that reflect the destructions of war and the lives of the underprivileged class.
The Italian Cinema in the days of Fascist rule was dominated by lavish epics that served as political propaganda, or escapist telefoni bianchi (white telephone) films. Some critics of the time including Luchino Visconti, Cesare Zavattini, Gianni Puccini, Giuseppe De Santis were against this opulence and suggested a new realist style.
in 1943 was widely regarded as the founding piece of Neo-realism. In the following two years, Italy was in the turmoil of international and civil wars, film industry’s infrastructure was destroyed and filmmakers had to find new ways to make films. Rossellini’s Rome, Open City
(1945) made use of real locations, non-professional casting, and shot in a half documentary style helped put this movement into international limelight. His later works, Paisan
(1946) , Germany Year Zero
(1948) , Visconti’s The Earth Will Tremble
(1948) and De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves
(1948) were recognised with many international awards and remain to be world cinema’s classics. After this movement, the aesthetic tradition continued to flourish in the works of Fellini, Antonioni and Pasolini. In the decades that follow, the influence of Neo-realism can still be seen not only in Italian but also in the world cinema.
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