This collection examines the impact of Italian neorealism beyond the period of 1945-52 and beyond the postwar Italian film industry where the movement originated. Providing a refreshing aesthetic and ideological contrast to mainstream Hollywood films, neorealist filmmakers demonstrated not only how an engaging narrative technique could be brought to bear upon social issues but also how cinema could shape and redefine national identity.
Although limited to a discussion of only three key films, this demanding and important book broadens the critical treatment of neorealism far beyond the customary boundaries of “realism” in the cinema.
Exploring the roots and causes of neorealism, particularly the effects of the Second World War, as well as its politics and style, Mark Shiel examines the portrayal of the city and the legacy left by filmmakers such as Rossellini, De Sica, and Visconti. Films studied include Rome, Open City (1945), Paisan (1946), The Bicycle Thief (1948), and Umberto D. (1952).