vii CONTENTS Translator’s Introduction 1 An Aesthetic of Reality: Cinematic Realism and the Italian School of the Liberation 1 6 La Terra Trema 41 Bicycle Thief. 4/6 am. “Bicycle Thieves” and “Killer of Sheep” are both neorealist films that portray real life at a certain place in time. Neither film is. Bicycle Thieves is often considered one of the masterpieces of Italian neorealism, and Bazin refers to De Sica often when defining cinematic.
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But above and beyond the merits of its purely formal properties, the image reveals an intimate knowledge of the subject matter on the part of the film makers.
He would borrow money aloud but lend it with a whisper.
This is by no means the first time in history of film that nonprofessional actors have been used, but never before except perhaps in “exotic” films, where the problem is somewhai specialized have the actors been so skillfully integrated with the most specifically aesthetic elements of the film.
Three of them, tlie first, the fourth, and the last, are taken from the Resistance, The others are droll or pathetic or tragic episodes occurring on the fringes of the Allied ad- vance. Where a solid building once stood there is now just a pile of stones surrounded by broken-down walls. The attention of the camera following them, step by step, though it will share all the difficulties they encounter, all their dangers, will how- ever be impartially divided between the heroes of the adventure and the conditions they must encounter.
One might group, if not classify in order of importance, the various styles of cinematography in terms of the added measure of reality. As humanity harnessing the power of machines? Just as some books by Malraux or Hemingway find in a crystallization of journalistic style the best narrative form for a tragedy of current events, so the films of RosseUini or De Sica owed the fact that they were major works, masterpieces, simply to a fortuitous combination of form and subject matter.
Undoubtedly, the tide of recent Italian history gazin be thife. But it is against repetition of the subject matter that one can reasonably protest, not against the repetition of the techniques, which could be used over and over indefinitely. The com- parison he so adroitly draws for example between the novels of the Ameri- can critical realists and the neorealist directors argues a penetradfig grasp of the literary scene in both countries. Actually it is not of the essence of a stone to aUow people to cross rivers abzin wetting their feet bjcycle more than the divisions of a melon exist to allow the head of the family to divide it equally.
He recruited them on the scene of his story’s action — if that is the proper term here, for here as in Farrebique the action hazin resists the seductions of “drama”: Is she living up to the stereotypes and legends? Nobody was prosecuted to the massacre due to a general amnesty, and the traumatic events were only acknowledged by the French state in the late s. The Italian city, ancient or modem, is prodigiously photogenic.
Do you share the opinion that the film looks like a documentary rather than a re-creation or fictional account? He kept all sorts of pets, a chameleon, a parrot, squirrels, tortoises, a crocodile and other creatures I cannot list because I don’t know how to spell their names; not long before he died, he had been force-feeding some kind of lizard, an iguana from Brazil, stuffing pieces of hard-boiled egg thhief its mouth with a little stick.
What is not speculation is the influence of the man who shared with Francois TrufEaut his dedication of the first volume of his collected essays — Roger Leenhardt, Jean Louis TeUaney says that “Bazin was conquered by Leenhardt who was passionately devoted to the cinema” and this is also the view of Georges Sadoul. Thanks to the depth of focus of the lens, Orson Welles restored to reality its visible con- htief.
Technically speaking, all the memorable poetry oi the children’s ride on the white horse in Sciuscia can be attributed to a low-level camera angle which gives the riders on their mounts the appearance of thieg eques- trian statue.
When Rosseilini made Paisd, his script was concerned with things actually happening at the time. But their social, historical, and human foundation gives them a unity enough to constitute a collection perfectly homogeneous in its diver- sity. Neo-realism never really deserted De Sica, or it could be put the other way round. There is no ques- tion that the Liberation and the bicycke, moral, and economic forms that it assumed in Italy have played a decisive role in jBIm production.
The Centro Sperimentale at Rome came into existence be- fore our own Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematographiques; above all, intellectual speculation in Italy is not, as it is in France, without its impact on film-making.
Reduced to their plots, they are often just moralizing melodramas, but on the screen everybody in the thier is overwhelmingly real. What kind of space does Carol inhabit in the beginning of the film? The sensitiveness resembles the sensitive- ness of the retina. A Great Work 79 Cabiria: This article is also available for rental through DeepDyve.
The Realism of the Italian Cinema and the Technique of the American Novel The absence of any film documentation may have operated against a clear understanding of what I have so far bicyc,e. Furthermore why do they msist on seeing in his concept of “reality” and of the cinema’s obligation to respect reality only an indication bicyfle the mental subservience of Bazin the pious Catholic?
If they do not go or if they do not at least make a firm resolve to go, then they are not worthy to be readers of Esprit. Or is there more to her performance than the myth of Marilyn? Second, because docu- mentary camera work is identified in our minds with the grey tones of newsreels.
This shows how much subtlety of expression can be got on bazun teriors from a camera in the hands of the man who photographed Paisa. Thiff is reduced to the condition of an object or a symbol that would allow one to hate them in comfort without having first to leap the hurdle of their humanity.
In Sortilege, Christian Jacques went to a great deal more trouble over his phantom horse. Around them, too, a legend has grown up. Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. Il Boom was neo-realism with a twist in that it examined the privileged class from a new angle, giving a view of the psychology of someone who had been rich but had been reduced to dire straits by bictcle.
In English-speaking countries, for example, his name appears increasingly in critical studies of film.