One of the most influential national film movements to emerge in the post-World War II era, Italian neo-realism continues to hold sway over filmmakers and artists worldwide even as its exact definition continues to provoke debate. Most frequently positioned as a response to the propaganda of Italy’s fascist-controlled film industry, neo-realism rejected escapism in favor of politically and socially charged subjects, non-professional actors and a documentary style. This allegiance to material reality, however, was never total. Artifice and interpretation always crept in consciously at the edges. In 1953, after a decade of neo-realist classics, even leading neo-realist figure screenwriter Cesare Zavattini had to declare, “We have not yet reached the center of neo-realism.” That this center remains a moving target is one reason why the spirit of neo-realism continues to be readily adopted and adapted by filmmakers around the world. It’s a hopeful trend in a market dominated by a digitized industrial film output that gives new resonance to Zavattini’s next sentence “Neo-realism today is an army ready to start.”
Series programmed by Ian Birnie and Paul Malcolm.
Additional screenings in this series are being held at the Bing Theater at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA): Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Accattone (1961) on Thursday, October 27 and Luchino Visconti’s La Terra Trema (1948) on Thursday, November 3. Please visit the LACMA website for more information: www.lacma.org.
Made possible by: Cinecittà Luce S.p.A.; the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Los Angeles (Alberto di Mauro, director and Massimo Sarti, deputy director).
Special thanks to: Rosaria Folcarelli, Cinecittà Luce S.p.A.; Laura Argento, CSC-Cineteca Nazionale; Susan Oxtoby, Pacific Film Archive; Marian Luntz, The Musuem of Fine Arts Houston; James Quandt, Toronto International Film Festival; Margaret Parsons, National Gallery of Art.
All films from Italy in Italian with English subtitles.
The Neo-Realist Moment: Film Frames 1941—1952
“Days of Glory” is being presented in conjunction with “The Neo-Realist Moment: Film Frames 1941—1952,” a photography exhibition of cinema frames extrapolated from the most important films of the neo-realist movement. The exhibit opens September 28 at the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles. For more information, please visit: www.iiclosangeles.esteri.it.