on neorealism

thurs. 4/6/2017 11:50AM

The genre that is Italian neorealism doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to begin with; as spectators should be accustomed to the ‘happily ever after’ of Hollywood and the feel-good escaping of reality that is going to the movie theater, it doesn’t make sense for them to commit to watching a tragedy depicting the world they already live in. But this is where the art of Italian neorealism comes in. As I see it, one of the greatest features of this genre is that it provides for the spectator an opportunity through which to explore the everyday scenes, people, and situations, and observe/reflect on the beauty or difficulties within. Everyday interactions that might otherwise be overlooked are presented in such a manner that it has a simplistic enchantment. One factor that benefited this idea was the incorporation of the soundtrack in the two films (Bicycle Thieves and Killer of Sheep) – nearly melodramatic in its style, the main theme in Bicycle Thieves served as an enhancement to tragic scenes whenever they occurred, and the songs chosen for Killer of Sheep gave the spectator something to think about (as what we saw was quite different from what we heard).

Another common characteristic I noticed between both films was the overwhelming focus on the human being and relations (particularly kinship), whether it’s emotions or persona, and their relationship with the outside society – Bicycle Thieves focused on the struggles of a father seeking to provide for his family in the post-war Italian society, and Killer of Sheep focused on a father figure as well, one who seems frustratingly stuck in his monotonous lifestyle.

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