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
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Reading Response #2 – Interaction Design Best Practices

For this week’s reading response homework, I read pages 13-55 from Interaction Design Best Practices: Mastering Words, Visuals, Space.  This reading featured a lot of valuable information about communication best practices.  One of the things that pointed out immediately was the overlap of lessons I’ve learned in Communication, Public Relations and Advertising courses.  There is an emphasis on what is known in other industries as the MAC triad – message, audience and channel.   The reading emphasized questions that need to be answered in order to strengthen the message delivery.  You have to take into consideration the following questions:

  1. Who will read it?
  2. When will they read it?
  3. What do they need to know
  4. What is the format?
  5. What is the best tone?

I learned about the 5 Pillars of Interactive Design while reading this passage and why interactivity matters.  Overall, this reading explained how interactivity relates to human connection and behavior. Our goal, as designers is to get the user to inevitability spend less time trying to figure out how to use a site or platform and more time accomplishing the task at hand.  For this reason, clarity should be our top priority.  I think many artists can appreciate an abstract work of art, however, ambiguity is the enemy of good design.  Some best practices for usability that I extracted from this reading assignment that I plan to apply to future blog posts and design projects it to opt for a clean design with less clutter, offer directives with suggested site actions, be clear, concise and specific, use proper titles and the avoid buzzwords.  One of the strongest takeaway messages I received from this passage is that each of us are artists and have creative ability.  The most important thing is focusing in the message you are looking to communicate.