Sunday, 19 August 2007

Neo-realism as filone?

I’ve been reading the collection on neo-realism Springtime in Italy. While on the surface it’s pretty distant from the filone cinema that I tend to discuss here, neo-realism being an art rather than a popular cinema that tended to have more success internationally and with the critics than domestically and with a mass audience, whereas for the filone cinema the reverse tends to be the case, some of what Franco Venturini says in his essay on The Origins of Neo-realism seems to suggest that we could almost talk of it as a filone phenomenon:

“In the genesis of neo-realism, a decisive and unilateral contribution does not exist; it did not arise from a single factor, but from a sum of factors which influenced the movement in a complex way.

To understand this I must refer to the provincial condition of the Italian cinema [...] whose various channels remained in a a fluid state, not quite materialising into a solidified, concrete tradition. [...] Due to their very state of fluidity and lack of tradition, there was never a question of a limitation of growth. The substance of neo-realism and its rapid development are linked to the provincial condition of Italian cinema.”

Was Rome Open City the surprise hit that encouraged the production of films in a similar style, quickly leading to their meeting with more commercial cinema, such as Giuseppe De Santis’s crime melodrama Bitter Rice, paralleling the way as the early 1970s saw both popular and art films using the giallo / thriller mode?

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