Italian Cinema: Neorealism

Course Dates: 22/01/23
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: Keeley Street
Neorealism was just a brief moment in cinema history, but its impact was enormous, not only on Italian film but also on the French New Wave and ultimately on films all over the world—but not only on films. It was a postwar film movement that helped reconstruct a broken society. The term 'neorealism' was first applied to Visconti’s Ossessione (1943) but the style came to fruition in the mid-to-late forties in such films as Roberto Rossellini’s Rome Open City (1945), Shoeshine (1946), Paisan (1946) and Bicycle Thieves (1948 Vittorio De Sica).
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Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00

This course has now finished

Course Code: HF032

Finished Sun, day, 22 Jan - 22 Jan '23

Duration: 1 session

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What is the course about?

So, what is neo-realism? André Bazin called it a cinema of 'fact' and ‘reportage’. Although they owed a debt to Jean Renoir (both Visconti and Antonioni worked with him), neo-realists respected the entirety of the reality they filmed, which meant occasionally showing scenes in real-time and always resisting the temptation to manipulate by editing. Scenes shot on location, with no professional extras and a largely unprofessional cast focus on everyday people, often children, emphasising the routines of ordinary life. Italian neorealism was the first postwar cinema to liberate filmmaking from the artificial confines of the studio and the Hollywood-originated studio system. But neorealism was also the expression of a moral and ethical philosophy, not simply just another new cinematic style.

What will we cover?

• Italian Neorealism’s avoidance of neatly plotted stories for loose, episodic structures evolving organically
• Neorealism’s documentary visual style
• Neorealism’s use of actual locations - usually exteriors - rather than studio sites
• Neorealism’s use of nonprofessional actors, even for principal roles
• Neorealism’s use of improvisation and conversational speech, not literary dialogue
• Neorealism’s avoidance of artifice in editing, camerawork, and lighting, in favour of a simple 'styless' style.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Describe how neorealism developed technically, culturally and nationally
- Distinguish Italian neorealism from other national film movements and cycles
- List and summarise the key neorealist films.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is a course for those interested in cinema. No previous experience or film study is necessary but those who have done previous study will find it well-informed and genuinely educational.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Opening lecture illustrated by film clips followed by group discussions and screenings. No outside work will be necessary.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no other costs. The tutor will show extracts of films or supply links to online viewing. Please bring a notepad, tablet or other device for note taking.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Please check our film course offer in the prospectus or on the website - under History, Culture and Writing/Film Studies.

John Wischmeyer

John Wischmeyer (MA in Film Theory) set up, ran and programmed his own cinema in West London and has since taught film studies at the former Gainsborough studio, the BFI and City Lit since 1999, Hitchcock’s centenary year. John has covered a wide range film topics under the banner ‘Cinema Investigates America’ and has a particular interest in and considerable knowledge of Hitchcock, Hollywood studios, American independent cinema and film noir, film technique and style.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.