What Was Considered ‘New’ And ‘Real’ About The Italian Neorealist Films?

In the 40-50s was born screen art, which not only opened a new chapter in a world art of cinematography but also had the charge that is still potential for the development of documentaries nowadays - Italian neorealism. Neorealism appeared in Italy is not just at the intersection of peace and war, but at the junction of two eras. Italian neorealism is a democratic liberation.  As a result, the essay is aimed at determining of “new” and “real” characteristics of Italian neorealism by examining common description of wave and analyses of two films. Considering the movie from the point of view formulated by Yuri Tynianov in relation to the literature of the principles of synchrony and diachrony (Tynianov 1977) on the other hand, and the theory of André Bazin (Bazin 2009) and Siegfried Kraсauer (Kracauer 1960) on the other, we can say that from time to time there is a change of two fundamental trends.

These trends define the nature of the aesthetic appeal of cinema with the available material before it. Indeed, in the literature, it is not only the coexistence and interpenetration of poetry and prose but also the inclusion of the artistic usage of the non-recognized phenomena. As a result, non-artistic and not even relevant to the cultural facts events can suddenly become art objects. In the same way, it just so happened that something in the cinematography presented itself as documented primitive, an analogue of a modern amateur video shoot for fun as it used to be done with the help of a family camera or cameras unpretentious. Meanwhile, intellectual cinema experiences the oncoming waves, whether it is the Italian neorealism at the turn of 1940-50s, and a decade later - the French, British film makers and the New York School (from documentaries to Lionel Rogozin experimental work of Adolph and Jonas Mekas), and in the second half of the 1990s - the Danish school in a moment spread throughout the world. Conversely, the fundamental difference between the Italian neorealism of the other listed areas is that the Italian movies, even contributing to the plot construction and generally manner of narration, remain quite traditional by means of cinematic expression, without offering innovative techniques or special ways of reflecting reality. Nevertheless, we cannot say that the film makers “exodus” onto the street or the use of non-professional actors were great discoveries. Even the most radical method used by Luchino Visconti during the filming, was familiar with, for example, Obert Flaherty.

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Speaking about the realistic tradition, sympathetically taught by subject or resilient optimism in the story of the saddest events, we will certainly find a lot of precursors of neorealism. In the literature it is represented by Italian Verismo and French naturalism, and film includes works of Mark Donskoi, mentioned by the neorealists, Jean Renoir and even Marcel Carne, with their teachers Luchino Visconti and Michelangelo Antonioni. The uniqueness of the Italian neorealism and postneorealism of the second half of the 1950s – early 1960s which managed to have a significant impact on world cinema in general, not updating it formally and technically, perhaps, that it was a powerful make up of aesthetic principle. Furthermore, the main thing here - not even in an effort to catch the reality “in surprise,” as many film makers, non-fans of neorealism, give a hundred points ahead of the ability to display rapidly changing world).

The essence lies in fact that everything what is happening is based on credibility, human sympathy, unfathomable inner beauty and spirituality that light up this poor and often the unfortunate reality with a special light of love for all beings. Bias towards excessive sentimentality and compassionate, eventually led to the end of the neorealists, when passions prevail, and the drama of ordinary people degenerated into a frivolous comedy. But on the other hand, stoicism and almost religious abnegation inherent above all creations of Roberto Rossellini, found support among postneorealism, including his direct disciple of Federico Fellini, and especially - in Pier Paolo Pasolini, and many years later - in Paolo and Vittorio Ermanno Olmi and the Taviani. It is interesting to observe way the Italian neorealism contradict the theatre to finish finding similarities between art and reality. Active means the rejection of everything – from music and casting to scenario and interlocutions in movies. But the greatest deal is that this type of cinema only can be valuable in comparison with another, “Hollywood” type. This art can role as ruthless and uncompromising, not the instrument of reaching transitory purposes. But when neorealism reaches the peak of destructions standards, it goes back to the first condition. We can see it in Jeremy`s desire to merge “film games” and Fellini’s attraction of “metacinema.” Especially interesting is the movement of Luchino Visconti - precisely because in his art always dominates the artist. In 1948, Visconti created the film “La Terra Trema” - one of the most consistent implementation of the poetics of neorealism.

In this film, everything from Sicilian dialect, incomprehensible even to the Italian audience, but pointedly of a director without translation (better not clear, but the caller unconditional trust of documentary authenticity than clear, but suspected of “artistic” tape) - to typecasting, plot - protest against the “artificiality of art.” But in 1953 he made the film “Sense”, without undeniable solutions, but very interesting in design. Action takes place in 1866, during the uprising in Venice and the Italian-Prussian-Austrian war. The film begins the music of Verdi. The camera captures the scene of the theatre, which is a performance of the opera “Il Trovatore.” National heroic aura of Verdi's music becomes the naked system in which the characters encode the story. Break away from the context, the tape striking theatricality openly operatic drama, where love, jealousy, betrayal, and death change each other), and stage effects outright primitive and archaic methods of directing. However, in the context of the general movement of art, paired with “The Earth is Trembling”, it gets a different meaning. The art of the clear truth, which tends to get rid of all existing kinds of artistic conventions, requires a huge cultural perception. As for its democratic ideas, it becomes too intellectual in language. The unprepared viewer starts to get bored. Combating this leads to the restoration of rights consciously primitive, traditional, but the audience loved the artistic language. In Italy, opera and comedy masks, whose traditional system of conditionality clear and close to a mass audience, has become an art. And cinema, having reached the limits of natural, turned to the primitiveness of the conventional artistic languages, known to the viewer from childhood. In the second half of the 1970s and early 1980s in Italy, once again we heard the echoes of the classic neorealism.

By that time 40 years had passed after the first neorealist films. And similarly to the other cycle, the cycle of cinema in the world begins to take shape a kind of neoneorealism, which is reflected not only in Italy, but associate with the example of the sudden rise fairly average director Gianni Amelio. Decade earlier, Englishman Michael Radford in the film about love in the early postwar years, marriage between an Englishwoman and an Italian former prisoner of war, was undoubtedly guided by neorealism. Revival in the UK in the middle of 1980s of the social and critical trends in the films of Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, Stephen Frears, too, should be seen in connection with the indirect influence of the neorealism. Even in Hollywood cinema there were neorealism things, which found its expression in the tapes of Mark Rydell, Richard Pearce, Robert Benton, Sam Shepard. And in France, in addition to a large audience success of rural retro story type and Claude Berri, there is fashion for lyrical comedies and melodramas about the lives of ordinary Frenchmen that picks through decades of neorealist tradition of quite a number of works of the 1950s director Jean-Paul Le Shan. In the middle of 1970s, director Carlo Lizzani argued that if to look at neorealism with today’s perspective, it may not satisfy the observer, it may seem to be too simple-minded or too outdated. However, the characteristic of the neorealism of social interest in the fate of man today could serve as a compass needle pointing to a way out of the maze and suicidal nostalgia that, according to the director, overwhelmed the Western world (Millicent 1992).

Thus, Italian neorealism is alive and continues to develop. As an illustration, there are two films that highlight the features of neorealism. Pier Paolo Pasolini is one of the brightest representatives of Italian neorealism was born as a director with the première of the film “Accattone” (“Tramp”). Pier Paolo Pasolini was provocative,and certainly controversial personality. His films were also subject to its controversial beliefs; he was a staunch Marxist, atheist and an “open” and “irreconcilable” homosexual. Pasolini became famous not only as a director, but also as a poet, literary critic, essayist, linguist, writer, teacher, artist and writer. They say that the most important person in his life was Jesus Christ, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. Like most subsequent films of Pasolini, “Accattone” is based on his own literary work - the novel “The Brutal Life.” In the novel, the main character’s name was Tommaso, and it was typical of Pasolini's hero - bisexual. To pass the censorship restrictions, he had to remove bisexual proclivities of the hero, and at the same time to give him a new name - Accattone. Vittorio nicknamed Accattone - a typical slacker, and, by and large, a loser who lives in the slums of Rome. His relationships with women are parasitic in nature: they are ready for it, and he is enjoying it without giving anything in return. After his girlfriend Maddalena was in prison, partly attributable to him, the girl’s father cursed and beat her brother Accattone. Forced to flee, turned into a tormented, hungry tramp, he falls in love with a virtuous Stella, but cannot get rid of his habit of using women's kindness. Accattone - a thief and pimp - attempts to stand up for an honest way of life, but having lost it, he is condemned to death and killed by a car fleeing from police. “Akkattone” sets the direction and plot threads all of Pasolini’s subsequent films: religion with its inner strength, venality and madness, Marxism and the class struggle, mythology, sensuality and sexuality. Cesare Zavattini wrote that many years he was trying to understand the uniqueness of building films of Pasolini. He claimed that the films of Pasolini are visual rather than narrative, they consist of short, isolated episodes, which can be likened to images, mathematical axioms, or answer questions from the catechism (Zavattini 1970).

To achieve this effect in “Accattone” Pasolini resorted to the three main ways: 1) the use of a common plan, combined with no or little action; 2) static stiffness of the camera; and 3) the participation of non-professional actors. Nobody except Pasolini was not able to use of the people “in the street” in the filming so effectively. Directed by working with professional actors tend to rely on individual actors show a close-up for the transfer of experiences in order to ensure continuity of action in the film. And when Pasolini shows the face of a young peasant, blank, uncomprehending, and without  expression of any feelings, there is a “gap effect”, that is the action in the film just stops. It is not because of the bad play of the actors, it is because they do not play at all. In this way, Pasolini sought a certain passivity of action, full of fatalism. His film seems to say: “this is the case, and there's nothing you can do about it.” “Night” belongs to the so-called “golden period” of creativity Antonioni on a par with paintings “Adventure” (1960), “Eclipse” (1962) and “Red Desert” (1964) - also known as a “tetralogy miscommunication.” Unlike Pasolini, Antonioni used in his films professional actors and did not focus on social commentary, and psychological analysis. Retell the story of the movie “Night” in contrast to the movie “Accattone” is not only extremely difficult, but perhaps do not even make sense – so far gone in them the author of what may be described in words. Existential drama is just an excuse used by the director to enter into a new cinematography dimension, where the only adequate method of presentation of the author's ideas is the language of images, amplified by camera movement, color and light. With all the variety of expressive means and innovative creative solutions, just an overflowing imagination of the director in the history of cinema, he remained forever “singer alienation”, describing moral and spiritual poverty, masquerading as self-confidence and elegance. As a consequence, happy people among his heroes, including the film “Night” simply are not present. All the characters are torn by illusory and contingencies of human relations and, not being able to express true feelings, live in a world separated from death only by a formal fact heartbeat.

The feeling of lack or loss of something important, mostly left unspoken, permeates their lives. But getting close to each other and finding finally the coveted love prevent them from failure to take the plunge caused by the eclipse of the deepest feelings. Finding themselves  is impractical ideal lust essence and meaning dissolves right before our eyes under the influence of idleness and boredom. Empathize with the actors in the films of Antonioni impossible. But there is always a reason to enjoy the refined aestheticism maestro with whom it registers the slightest movement of the soul inhabiting his films representatives of the upper middle class. A new way of disclosure of human psychology means of cinema has become, apparently, the most important discovery of Antonioni in the field of film language and had a great influence on the further development of world cinema, mainly movies of Miklós Jancsó and Andrei Tarkovsky. As a result, it is not possible to say that Italian neorealism push the world of art forward by offering innovative techniques or special ways of reflecting reality. However, the Italian neorealism introduced some “new” and “real” points. Firstly, through all movies we can see engrossing credibility, human sympathy, unfathomable inner beauty, and spirituality. Secondly, receptions of metacinema and documentalistic art have been adopted. In addition, the movies involved the participation of non-professional actors. Lastly, the cinematography can be characterized by lack of actions, and use of common plan. Italian screen highlighted documentary. While in the second half of the 1980s the documentary was in its pure form, then in Italy it was in the form of documentary stylization in the game. But in that and in other cases, it was a direct and immediate response to the falsity of the previous film and, moreover, the previous ideology. The screen splashed life itself. Life as it is.

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