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a trend in Italian motion pictures and literature from the mid-1940’s to the mid-1950’s; a new form of realism that emerged after World War II during the struggle for antifascist and democratic national art. The historical basis for neorealism was the nationwide Resistance Movement and the spread of socialist ideas in Italy. The literature of verismo, the theoretical works and films of Soviet cinematographers, and the work of progressive French directors greatly influenced the development of neorealism.

Imbued with respect for man and the power of solidarity, neorealism chose as its principal characters individuals from the common people who retained high moral qualities and who experienced personal growth in their struggle for the good of the whole nation. Its chief themes included the exposure of the horrors and demagoguery of fascism, the heroic feats of the Italian partisans, and the struggle for social justice. Neorealism was basically concerned with the ordinary man’s struggle to maintain his dignity in a cruel and unjust society.

The aesthetic principles of neorealism in the Italian cinema were set forth by C. Zavattini, who also applied them in his own scenarios. Neorealism’s artistic manifesto was director R. Rossellini’s film Open City (1945). A large group of like-minded artists formed, including the directors L. Visconti, V. De Sica, R. Rossellini, G. De Santis, P. Germi, C Lizzani. and L. Zampa and the actors and actresses A. Magnani, A. Fabrizi, M. Girotti, Totò, R. Vallone, and C. Del Poggio. The best films of neorealism included Paisan, The Bicycle Thief, Shoe Shine, Umberto D, La Terra Trema (The Earth Trembles), Tragic Hunt, In the Name of the Law, Road of Hope, Naples, City of Millionaires, and Rome, Eleven O’Clock.

Neorealist directors sought new means of expression. Cinema language changed significantly. Neorealist films were distinguished by a striving for detail and for documentary-like depiction of the burdensome life of the people. The films were laconic, restrained, and entirely devoid of the deceptive prettiness and elaborateness of films of the fascist period. The films, mainly black-and-white, were, as a rule, shot on location—on the street and outdoors. Nonprofessionals were often recruited to act. Sometimes the scenario was based on newspaper reports. The dialogue in the films often used the local dialects. A number of films included commentaries, which served to summarize the action. All this gave the films a special aura of credibility.

Neorealism in literature arose in opposition to the various modernist currents and clericalist tendencies and, especially, to profascist art. The most developed literary genre was the lyrical document, which combined autobiography with fiction, for example, V. Pratolini’s Magazzini Street and Family Chronicle and C. Levi’s Christ Stopped at Eboli. The comedies of E. De Filippo, for example, Naples the Millionaire, were closely related to this genre. A broader, epic treatment of social problems and conflicts was present in the novels Metello by Pratolini and Lands of Sacramento by F. Jovine and in the essays of Levi.

Neorealists strove for clarity and simplicity in language and imagery; they made extensive use of folk speech. This tendency was also manifested in poetry (P. P. Pasolini), which rejected the hermetists’ striving for new poetic forms.

In the mid-1950’s, the limitations of the neorealistic method became evident. Neorealism proved itself incapable of exposing the most important and complex contradictions of the new reality; it sometimes substituted empiricism for analysis. The realism in contemporary Italian cinema and literature outgrew the artistic ideas and world view of neorealism. However, neorealism had accomplished a serious ideological and aesthetic task: it had reawakened in Italian art an interest in the common people.

Phenomena related to neorealism also appeared in the Italian fine arts—in the paintings and graphic art of U. Attardi, A. Salvatore, G. Zigaina, and C. Levi, and in a number of paintings by R. Guttuso—and to a certain degree in the theater, where L. Visconti, E. De Filippo, and A. Magnani worked. Neorealism also influenced Italian popular songs.

At the beginning of the 1950’s, neorealism exerted an influence on a number of European literatures and on film-making in many countries, including the socialist countries. Similar tendencies in the art of Western European countries (France, Great Britain, West Germany) were sometimes also called neorealist. Neorealism survived in individual films of subsequent years and, at the beginning of the 1970’s, again became prominent in the progressive tendency known as political cinema.


Stsenarii ital’ianskogo kino [vols. 1–2]. Moscow, 1958–67. (Translation.)
Zavattini, C. “Nekotorye mysli o kino.” In Umberto D. Moscow, 1960. (Translated from Italian.)
Potapova, Z. M. Neorealizm v ital’ianskoi literature. Moscow, 1961.
Solov’eva, I. Kino Italii (1945–1960): Ocherki Moscow, 1961.
Kin, Ts. Mif, realnost’, literatura. Moscow, 1968.
Ferretti, G. C. Letteratura e ideologia. Rome, 1964.


References in periodicals archive ?
Yet, in the fairly disheartening panorama of this third stage in the development of the so-called "cinema risorgimentale," only a handful of titles deserve to be mentioned, such as Cavalcata d'eroi (1951) by Mario Costa, Camicie rosse (1952) directed by Goffredo Alessandrini, but whose shooting was eventually completed by Francesco Rosi, and starring Anna Magnani and Raf Vallone, two of the actors who appeared in some of the best neorealist films of the period; Il brigante di Tacca del Lupo (1952), directed by Pietro Germi and whose script was signed by a group of extremely gifted writers such as Riccardo Bacchelli (the author of the novel as well, 1942), but also Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, and Germi himself.
Their directors foreground those qualities which are instead believed--at least since the time of the Italian neorealist movement in the 1940s--to be the major viable route to reflecting the real.
Despite the alleged Indigenous focus, these films stem squarely from the global market, oftentimes documenting ethnographically, a la the neorealist tradition, the wasteland inhabited by marginalized peoples.
According to Mary Watt Blow-Up is a "parody of the Neorealist tradition .
In fact, Obama is not committed to redefining US foreign policy in a transformational way, but calibrating and correcting the Bush policies, and reclaiming the neorealist approach that has defined America's foreign policy since WWII.
We find this model in many texts that he wrote in the following years, such as Il compagno (1947), the most neorealist of his works, but with a gradual reduction of the vernacular element, which in Paesi tuoi was still rather heavy.
The Neorealist contrast between the lower classes and the more affluent ones is also portrayed in this film.
Fettweis criticizes the realist and neorealist schools of thought, claiming that their adherents focus too narrowly on the past behavior of states in the international system.
The adjunction of two "bedrock" hypotheses--state can never be sure of each other's intentions and they possess inherently offensive military capacity (17)--to the original neorealist framework entails deep change in the structure of incentives produced by international systems.
The concluding essay, by Roberto Nepoti, covers Italian neorealist cinema of the same period including Roberto Rossellini's celebrated Roma, citta aperta ('Rome, Open City'; 1945)--and thus helps makes sense of works such as Aligi Sassu's Via Manzoni (1952), that might otherwise have seemed out of place in this show.
This literature comported quite consistently with neorealist international relations theory, which assumes that states are unitary actors.
According to Page, recent Argentine fiction film, in making pointed references to neorealist devices more popular in the Argentine cinema of the 1970s, builds on previously well-charted territory as a means of repositioning ideas and images and reconfiguring long-standing debates.