Italian Neorealism

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Italian Neorealism

Neorealism: a movement especially in Italian filmmaking characterized by the simple direct depiction of lower-class life.

In the 1950's the common man of Italy was immersed in poverty and peasantry. The lower-class was uneasy at best and looking for an outlet to their discomfort. In the beginning the movement was a deliberate rejection of movies made by state-controlled studios in Italy during the long fascist regime of Mussolini. The neorealist began using truth in film as a cry for help. Italian neorealists not only used many of the storytelling and film making techniques associated with earlier embodiments of realism, but were focused on depicting the poverty, despair, and devastation in Italy bent by war, fascism, and social injustice.

Rooted in Italian resistance of northern Italy during the close of World War II, the movement is greatly influenced by the sociological factors of the time (the resistance against Germany, to the aftermath of the War).

Neorealism painted a picture of "real" Italian life from 1943 to 1952. Few other periods of film history are so deeply influenced by the political ideal and social history of their time. Italian neorealist film parallels the changing political and social hopes and realities of its time. Neorealism's presentation of social problems went from having a clear cut victim and oppressor relationship as in Open City, to having grayed out lines of good and bad, concealing who was truly at fault for the problems at hand. Similarly, the movement reflects how the feeling of hope for a renewed society slowly faded away to be replaced by the darker reality of hopelessness in the future.

The most common attribute of neorealism is location shooting and the dubbing of dialogue. The dubbing allowed for filmmakers to move in a more open miss-en-scene. Principal characters would be...