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International Film Styles: Neorealism

jclarke | Friday September 04, 2015

Categories: A Level, EDUQAS A Level, EDUQAS A2, FM4, Section A: World Cinema, Analysis, Film Analysis, Film History, Cinema in Context, Film Industry, Censorship & Regulation, Copyright & Licensing, Film Distribution, Film Marketing, Film Publicity, Film Promotion, Production Companies, Films & Case Studies, Non-Hollywood Films, Kes, World Cinema, Rome, Open City, Genres & Case Studies, Neorealism, Hot Entries, Key Concepts, Audience, Film Language, Representation

Across the varied and diverse ways in which a film text can encode and emphasise meanings and a specific viewpoint on or presentation of a subject, realism is a key aesthetic and formal choice and approach that has functioned as a key creative direction of so much western expression across literature and the visual arts. This resource, then, explores the characteristics of a particular film style that we call neorealism. It stems from post World War Two Italian cinema and its influence has been felt in cinemas around the world.

In exploring two films as our key texts in this resource we can pay attention to characteristic features including casting and performance and we can identify how these elements contribute to the overall effect of the films as a whole. Performance would certainly be considered as a microelement. Certainly, realism continues to hold a central position in popular cinema’s expressive approaches. Indeed, even the most lavish fantasy, such as the Peter Jackson-directed adaptation of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings novels and The Hobbit, is rendered in a realistic visual and sonic style. In effect, the artifice that all cinema is predicated on is not acknowledged. Susan Hayward distinguishes between two types of realism: “seamless realism whose ideological functions is to disguise the illusion of realism. Second, aesthetically motivated realism, which attempts to use the camera in a non-manipulative fashion and considers the purpose of realism in its ability to convey a reading of reality, or several readings even…? (1) Beyond the specific reference to film, it is useful to understand that historically, ‘the impulse towards realism occurred during a prolonged period of social and structural change’ when people moved from their rural communities to the cities to find work in the nineteenth century as the Industrial Revolution increasingly dominated and reshaped the lives of communities across Europe and North...

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