Andre Bazin’s articles on Italian neo-realism1 are centred around lengthy discussion of the There is a real world out there: Italian neo-realism is the triumph. ANDRE BAZIN wrote about film better than anybody else in Europe. From that day in when he to which Italian neorealism owed its triumph in 16 . André Bazin and Italian Neorealism presents a new selection of André Bazin’s writings on Vittorio De Sica, Roberto Rossellini, and Federico.

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Here, especially in urban settings, the Italians are at an undoubted advantage. July — Umberto D. Translated from the French.

André Bazin and Italian Neorealism: André Bazin: Bert Cardullo: Continuum

It is silly and perhaps as naive as Beaumarchaiss praise of the tears induced by melodrama. To put it another way, they were stone-blind to Bazins poetic genius — his ability to hold contrary terms in a state of paradoxical suspension that transcends mere theory and approaches mystical comprehension. The action could not unfold in just any social context, historically neutral, partly abstract like the setting of a tragedy, as so frequently happens to varying degrees with the American, French, or English cinema.

The public is to blame. Obviously, I dont think this is true anymore — certainly not in the United States — and I lament that fact, for the sake of intellectuals as well as Christians. Crossing over to Great Britain by way of the influential theoretical journal Screen, the sport of Bazin-bashing proliferated throughout the s and s. Indeed, I think we can confidently say by now that neorealism is eternally, as well as universally, “neo” or new.

But all that cinematic virtuosity did not prevent his animal from having the prosaic look of a broken-down cab horse. In one sense Italy is only three years old. His introduction offers a succinct biography of Bazin along with a stimulating assessment of the importance of his work, unabashedly embracing its transcendental and spiritual qualities. After the war, Italy had two options; either to face its Fascism or repress it.

It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. La terra trema in the end lacks inner fire, by which I mean inner commitment. Ultimately and by chance, the woman learns, from a wounded partisan, that the man she is looking for is dead. You could not be signed in. Cinematic realism was indeed representative of Italy, yet not because it was a form of anti-ideological filmmaking, but rather because it was deployed to represent the Fascist nation.

While history makes the past more complicated, commemoration makes it simpler, and the commemorative reference to neorealism is ande way to simplify Italian history in order to make it nontraumatic and acceptable. Thanks to the depth of focus of the lens, Welles restored to reality its visible continuity.


A man locked in a cell is waiting for the arrival of his executioner. Bazin argued for films that depicted what he saw as “objective reality” such as documentaries and films of the Italian neorealism school and directors who made themselves “invisible” such as Howard Hawks.

As it stands, however, he wont succeed unless he can avoid falling in the direction in which his cinema is already perilously leaning.

André Bazin and Italian Neorealism

The Italian city, ancient or modern, is prodigiously photogenic. Seeing the best Italian films ofI had the impression that Italian cinema was doomed to repeat itself to its utter exhaustion.

What is this neorealism that Wagstaff and Schoonover so prominently display in their book titles? The days of Shirley Temple, who unduly prolonged her own private theatrical, lite6rary, and visual aesthetic, are now over; children in the cinema neorralism longer look like china dolls or Renaissance representations of the infant Jesus.

Neorealism was not dead. For information on how we process your data, read our Privacy Policy. In its thematic attempt to reveal the underside of Italy s moral life, shared with Ossessione, The Children Are Watching Us itself was indicative of a rising new vision in Italian cinema. Bazins blend of the logical and the poetical though never neoreailsm political, despite the fact that he himself belonged to the left drew the attention of Jean-Paul Defining the Real: But other effects could have resulted from the same cause.

It was his good fortune, then, to write in the period just before film studies congealed into an institution. Remember me on this computer.

Unacceptable because it would be done definitely at the expense of that reality which the cinema proposes to restore integrally. Suphi Keskin marked it as to-read Apr 30, To obtain this synthesis in his film, Visconti anvre not had recourse to the effects one can produce from the juxtaposition of images.

The third is presented to us independently of the presence of the partisans. It only takes a closer look at their frameworks to notice that Bazin and Deleuze are writing about a zero cinema, a zero nation, and a zero people which never existed.

It is in this sense that I interpret neorealism as a narrative category, a category that allows certain rewritings of national memory, rather than a concept in film theory or history.

It is a necessary illusion but it quickly induces a loss of awareness of the reality itself, which becomes identified in the mind of the spectator with its cinematographic representation.


Bazin considered this not just one aesthetic option among others but in fact the very essence of modern cinematic realism. He supported Welles in his time against the resistance of puzzled technicians and the conservatism of his timorous fellow filmmakers; he supported neorealism, in its ideal form, against the advocates of “classical” moviemaking style; he supported Rossellini against those who, as of Europe ’51were ready to burn him at the stake; he supported the ever resilient will of Chaplin against those who wanted to bury him with the character of the Tramp; and he supported Renoirs seemingly confused changes of direction against those who wanted merely to see Toni over and over again.

It is the merit of Visconti to have managed a dialectical integration of the achievements of recent Italian film with a larger, richer aesthetic for which the term “realism” no longer has much meaning. Over the past two years, Resistance and Liberation have furnished the principal themes, but unlike the French, and indeed one might say unlike the European cinema as a whole, Italian films have not been limited to themes of the Resistance.

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Above all, the length of each story, its form, contents, and aesthetic duration, gives us for the first time precisely the impression of a short story. The war and the occupation were finally over. Through De Filippo, La vita ricomincia literally tells Italians what they should be doing: Individual films and filmmakers all carve up the unbroken plenitude of the qndre, imposing on it style and meaning.

De Sica and Rossellini contributed to the representation of Italy as a helpless country in need of international aid, providing a visual authorization for the Marshall plan and the intervention of the United States in Italian domestic affairs. Farassino was anv even implying that neorealism is able to capture Italians in an uncompromising way. I cannot linger over the technical tour de force which this represents, but I would like to emphasize that depth of focus has naturally led Visconti neorealiam it led Welles not only to reject montage but, in some literal sense, to invent a new kind of shooting script.

Like a mathematical asymptote, filmic representation is always doomed to fall a little short of its goal. The Italian camera retains something of the human quality of the Bell and Howell aandre camera, a projection of hand and eye, almost a living part of the operator, instantly in tune with his awareness.