Graduate Topics in Film: Year Zero – Neorealism
240 - 003 | CCN: 31876
Following the traumatic devastations of Fascism and the World War filmmakers such as Rossellini, Visconti, and De Sica (to cite only the most celebrated) offered the most immediate and most forceful responses to the Italy’s physical and moral collapse. Neorealism – in its various forms and inclinations, across media but most assertively in the cinema – has thus come to define the culture of reconstruction. It forged a vital myth of origins; it projected an image of Italy back to itself, inspiring a vision of unity, of purpose, and constructive reform in a period of transition. Its binding of an ethic with an aesthetic of filmmaking has become a paradigm for the renewal of cinemas everywhere. It remains a point of reference (both admired and contested) for other nations, regions, and minorities – to our time.
This seminar will explore historiographic and theoretical approaches to neorealism, paying particular attention to film style, narrative and visual form, the use of locations, the joining of non-actor and star, the recourse to history. We will trace its achievements, its influences, and its fallacies, juxtaposing key feature films with lesser-known works, including documentaries and shorts and considering, finally, some later responses and off-shoots.