Academic Paper [BLOG] – Italian Neorealism: Origin and Correlation with Documentary Style Film

Some of the aspects I appreciate most about my MFA program is the emphasis on global perspectives, along with the screenings of international films.  In my film history and film analysis courses, I became increasingly familiar with Pre-Classical Cinema, Soviet Montage Theory, German Expressionism, French New Wave, British Cinema (among others).  I enjoyed learning more about Italian Neorealism; which is often heralded as “the Golden Age of Cinema” and one of the most important movements in film history.  Italian Neorealism provided viewers with a with a realistic depiction of life in post-war Italy.  Some of the distinctive features of this movement include the use of non-professional actors and filming on-location. I admired the emphasis on bare-boned storytelling devoid of the fluff and grandeur popularized by its American cinematic counterparts.  It gave a dreary scene of the everyday conditions experienced by normal citizens in the aftermath of a fascist regime.

Although highly regarded as one of the most influential film movements, there isn’t much discussion about the origins and stylistic influences of Italian Neorealism.  Personally, this movement struck me as a documentary-hybrid of sorts.  I pitched this topic and completed a research paper to explore the factors that contributed to the popularization of this cinematic language, while drawing parallel to documentary film. 

The films were created to appeal to our sensibilities with harsh reality and an emphasis on humanity.  There are undeniable similarities between documentary film and Neorealism.  It can be argued that both are visual mediums which provide an accurate depiction of life.  For my research paper, the works of Roberto Rossellini and Vittorio De Sica were screened for primary research, and various sources were utilized to demonstrate the correlation between Italian Neorealism to Documentary style film. Both can be deemed anti-Hollywood film styles derived from political and social circumstances.

Screen grab of research paper on Neorealism correlations with documentary style film
Click image to access research paper

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