The Craft of Writing – Film Focus – Healthy Realism: Italian Neo-Realism in Taiwan
R1B 007 | CCN: 19927
Matteo Cavelier Riccardi
Location: Dwinelle 262
Date and Time: M, W 5:00pm - 6:29pm
It has been widely argued that Italian Neo-Realism heavily informed the first Golden Age of Taiwanese
(ROC) Cinema in the 1960s. Taiwan’s Central Motion Pictures Corporation president championed Italian
Neo-Realist cinema as the foundation of a home-grown “Healthy Realism,” and even sent filmmakers to
study in Italy. But what is the relationship between the Italian Neo-Realism and “Healthy Realism?” How
was the notion of Italian Neo-Realism constructed in Taiwan, and how may have it differed from the
debates around Neo-Realism in Italy and the People’s Republic of China? How does the espousal of
Italian Neo-Realism by Taiwan’s pseudo-fascist Guomindang government further complicate our
understanding of Neo-Realism as a “leftist film movement”?
This course will investigate the reception of Italian Neo-Realist films in the ROC through close analysis of the Italian films discussed in Taiwanese film journals and screened in Taiwanese theaters from 1952
onwards. This includes a combination of canonical films like Bicycle Thieves (de Sica 1948), Rome, Open City (Rossellini 1945), and Shoeshine (de Sica 1946), and lesser-known films such as Bitter Rice (de Santis 1949), Bread, Love and Dreams (Comencini 1953) and The River Girl (Soldati 1955). It will then put these films in dialogue with Taiwan’s “Healthy Realist” films and its aftermaths, including classics like Oyster Girl (Li 1963), Our Neighbor (Li 1963), Beautiful Duckling (Li 1965), Lonely Seventeen (Bai 1968) and The Bride and I (1969).
All materials will be provided in English. No knowledge of Italian or Chinese necessary. No prior
knowledge of film or literary analysis necessary.