Italian Neo-Realism

  • Luchino Visconti – La terra trema AKA The Earth Trembles (1948)

    Luchino Visconti1941-1950DramaItalian Neo-RealismItaly
    La terra trema (1948)
    La terra trema (1948)

    With La Terra trema, Luchino Visconti shows an extraordinary concern and sympathy with the plight of ordinary Sicilian fisher folk. Coming from a privileged aristocratic background, Visconti was so appalled by what the fascists had done to his country that he took up with left-wing politics and Marxist ideology. Whilst this political awareness does make its way into La Terra trema, what is far more striking is Visconti’s genuine compassion for the people he is filming. He conveys their sense of pride and nobility, as well as their extreme hardship and inability to make a better lot for themselves. Perhaps it is the fact that Visconti came from such a totally different world that allows him to engage so forcefully with his subject, to draw out every scintilla of poignancy, not as a complacent distant voyeur, but as someone who is profoundly moved by what he is seeing around him.Read More »

  • Giorgio Ferroni – Tombolo, paradiso nero (1947)

    Giorgio Ferroni1941-1950DramaItalian Neo-RealismItaly
    Tombolo, paradiso nero (1947)
    Tombolo, paradiso nero (1947)

    Tombolo, paradiso nero is a 1947 film directed by Giorgio Ferroni. Inspired by an article by Indro Montanelli, the film depicts the undergrowth of smugglers, prostitutes and deserters from the post-war Pineta del Tombolo, when the US military was stationed in the area.Read More »

  • Luchino Visconti – Appunti su un fatto di cronaca (1951)

    Luchino Visconti1951-1960DocumentaryItalian Neo-RealismItalyShort Film

    A 12-year-old girl, Annarella Bracci, was raped and killed in the popular borough of Primavalle, Rome, one of the age-old cross-roads of Italy, at the time it was going through major construction and road development projects.
    In 1951, the Italian Censorship Commission didn’t allow the release of the movie. It was shown in Paris in 1953 and later lost, but a copy is reported to belong to the Cinématèque Royale in Brussels.
    Part of “Documento mensile,” a project for cine-journalism started by Riccardo Ghione and Marco Ferreri.Read More »

  • Roberto Rossellini – Il Messia AKA The Messiah (1975)

    1971-1980ArthouseEpicItalian Neo-RealismItalyRoberto Rossellini

    Virtually unknown outside of Italy, Messiah (Il Messia) is historically important as the last directorial effort of Roberto Rossellini. In retelling the life of Christ, Rosselini harks back to the humanistic style he’d utilized on his many Italian TV projects of the 1960s. The director has no intention of depicting Jesus as being the vessel of divine providence. The Man from Galilee is shown simply as one who is unusually moral and of spotless character — the sort of person who’d be a natural leader no matter who his Father was. Co-scripted by its director, Messiah was completed in 1975, but not given a general release until 1978.Read More »

  • Federico Fellini – La strada [+Commentary] (1954)

    1961-1970DramaFederico FelliniItalian Neo-RealismItaly

    There has never been a face quite like that of Giulietta Masina. Her husband, the legendary Federico Fellini, directs her as Gelsomina in La strada, the film that launched them both to international stardom. Gelsomina is sold by her mother into the employ of Zampanò (Anthony Quinn), a brutal strongman in a traveling circus. When Zampanò encounters an old rival in highwire artist the Fool (Richard Basehart), his fury is provoked to its breaking point. With La strada, Fellini left behind the familiar signposts of Italian neorealism for a poetic fable of love and cruelty, evoking brilliant performances and winning the hearts of audiences and critics worldwide. The Criterion Collection is proud to present La strada, winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1956.Read More »

  • Alessandro Blasetti – Un giorno nella vita (1946)

    Drama1941-1950Alessandro BlasettiItalian Neo-RealismItalyWar

    Made immediately following the end of the war, Blasetti’s Un giorno nella vita follows
    the trend of many other Italian films from this moment in history, and investigates the
    situation of Italian people locked in mortal conflicts on native soil. In this case, the setting is
    a secluded Convent of Nuns, the inhabitants of which appear to have lived through the war
    years relatively oblivious and unaffected by the events of the outside world. However, the
    peace of the Convent is upset, when a group of Italian partisans led by Amedeo Nazzari
    takes shelter on the grounds of the convent. The Germans are in close pursuit, and one of
    the partisans is in dire need of medical attention. Elisa Cegani and Mariella Lotti are
    featured in the cast of nuns, who decide to aid the wounded partisan, and slowly also come
    to sympathize with the battle weary men.Read More »

  • Marco Bellocchio – I pugni in tasca AKA Fists in the Pocket (1965) (HD)

    1961-1970ArthouseDramaItalian Neo-RealismItalyMarco Bellocchio

    A young man takes drastic measures to rid his dysfunctional family of its various afflictions.Read More »

  • Marco Bellocchio – I pugni in tasca AKA Fists in the Pocket (1965)

    1961-1970ArthouseDramaItalian Neo-RealismItalyMarco Bellocchio

    Tormented by twisted desires, a young man takes drastic measures to rid his grotesquely dysfunctional family of its various afflictions in this astonishing 1965 debut from Marco Bellocchio. Charged by a coolly assured style, shocking perversity, and savage gallows humor, Fists in the Pocket (I pugni in tasca) was a gleaming ice pick in the eye of bourgeois family values and Catholic morality, a truly unique work that continues to rank as one of the great achievements of Italian cinema.Read More »

  • Federico Fellini – Le Notti di Cabiria AKA The Nights of Cabiria (1957)

    1951-1960ArthouseDramaFederico FelliniItalian Neo-RealismItaly

    Plot Synopsis
    Tragic story of a naive prostitute searching for true love in the seediest sections of Rome.

    Nights of Cabiria Essay by Federico Fellini
    The subject of loneliness and the observation of the isolated person has always interested me. Even as a child, I couldn’t help but notice those who didn’t fit in for one reason or another—myself included. In life, and for my films, I have always been interested in the out-of-step. Curiously, it’s usually those who are either too smart or those who are too stupid who are left out. The difference is, the smart ones often isolate themselves, while the less intelligent ones are usually isolated by the others. In Nights of Cabiria, I explore the pride of one of those who has been excluded.Read More »

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