After watching two of the Classic Italian Neo – Realism Films, The Bicycle Thief directed by Vittorio di Sica and Rome Open City directed by Roberto Rossellini. The things that I observed is that the World War 2 very much an integral part in all the Italian neo realism films. The stories are based on or influenced by the era of World War 2 and the lives at that time of a common man surrounding the war and its circumstances. Neo Realism dealt more with the struggles of people at that time and the reality that is why it explains the name Neo Realism. But I also like the fact that even in the worst time people do find happiness that is well highlighted in the films.
Also, some key characteristics of the films were that it reflected the moral values of society at that time and the moments like death of important characters, sad and tragic ending, characters getting matured at an early age. These traits have a big inspiration to films all over the world, unlike bigger than life portrayal of many heroes, these films were true to their character, pure and raw which was more like a documentary rather than fiction , it’s like someone recorded the actual scenes of something actually happening, that’s supported by the fact that most of the actors in the films were actually amateurs and most of them were playing the role that they are actually in real life. Also, locations were real and were shot just or after the war which made it more accurate than ever, no sets were used, and budget was a luxury.
Neo Realism also Inspired Indie Filmmaking Trend which is still very much alive during 21st century and is the basis by which filmmakers start their journey. Neo Realism paved the way for making films which is just like capturing real life scenario in its truest form. No artificial lighting, use of natural lights, real locations and raw actors, this what neo realism gave, like a voice to the people who are in positions of no power and poor, telling their stories, like a mirror to the society, that’s why neo realism films had shots which are wide that signifies the characters life is dependent in his/her surroundings and is insignificant in the larger picture and also shots which were from high to low which signifies the characters powerless nature.
It inspired many films in the 20th century later and still it inspires in the 21st century, some notable examples are Pather Panchali by Satyajit Ray , Moonlight by Barry Jenkins. Music in Italian Neo Realism films where Capturing city life and its relation to its protagonist, Music was subtle, natural, and effective. There was no heavy sound design, and the subtle music was there to make it go in a flow which sometimes deliberate put to make the audience uncomfortable.
So, this weekend you should check out films that have a profound impact in the world cinema even today.