"I think Italian cinema is one of the most creative contributions modern Italy has made to 20th century culture" (Bondanella,qtd. Karl, 54). This quote features in most of the scholarly works that discusses the impacts of Italian cinema on today’s film. A common opinion seems to be the fact that “recent films that people watch are the same: they talk about girls or boys growing up, vacations of the mentally impaired, and couples having crisis,” social issues such as crime, unemployment, and class bias among other similar topics (Hake, pp. 23-25). Most of the films showing on American screens tend to reflect on similar storylines: romantic driven stories that usually involve make-ups and breaks-ups among couples. The neo-realism period brought about films that have been admired to date, and have brought about influential elements into the present day American film (Karl, p. 30).
Thesis Statement: While reviewing literature from several authors, analysts, and critics such as Brunetta, O’Rawe, and Schoonover, I will attempt explain the influence of neorealism to nowadays American social films and melodrama. I will investigate how the story lines have been maintained from the post war Italian cinema to the present day American film industry. The Italian Naziploitation films is a genre of social and sexual exploitation films in the ancient Italian films that majorly embraced social exploitation among the social classes of the Italian 1960s and 70s. These Naziploitation films of the 1970s was based on political, economic and social conditions that were prevailing during that period. Neo-realism films discussed social issues in the 1960s and 70s. In the same regard, the films produced in the United States in the 20th and 21st century has maintained these themes such as political issues affecting the American population. Film producers such as Spike Lee and Alejandro Alcondez have embraced the themes that were used by Italian cinema producers such as Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Michelangelo Antonioni among others.
- Neo-realism takes place in a time when political messages bore a critical importance for the film industry of the time, given the aftermath of the war. It began in fact in the Second World War and flourished as Italy yearned for freedom of expression and speech that Fascism had taken away from the citizens.
- During this period, films such as Roma, citta’ aperta (Rome, open city, 1945), LadridiBiciclette (Bicycle thieves, 1948) and directors Roberto Rossellini and Vittorio De Sica instated and controlled the Italian neo-realist tradition (Karl, pp. 132-144).
- These cinematic works continue to be admired to the present day with several scriptwriters drawing useful ideas from these works.
- While the name ‘Commedia all’Italiana’ (Italian Comedy) might have gained negative connotation in the early Italian society since it was associated with films that make people to laugh, it also represented Italian culture, specifically the Sicilian part of Italy.
- Film personalities such as directors in the Italian ancient films have been influential in the present day American film industry.
- Film directors such as Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Michelangelo Antonioni among others are legendary contributions to the Italian cinema. American directors such as Spike Lee and Alejandro Alcondez have copied their style
- Their use of raw and emotional cinema such as ‘Who killed Pasolini’(1977) y Marco Tullio Giordana depicted the situation in Italian society at the time of their productions. Films like “From Prada to Nada (2010)” an American romantic comedy film produced by Gary Gilbert have similar functions.
- Politics has been an important factor in the film industry from the early Italian cinema to the present day American film industry. The themes of love, hatred, social injustice, and leadership have also remained the same.
- Despite advent of television and dispersal of privately owned broadcasting in the 1960s and 1970s, politics also caused crisis in the film industry such as restrictions broadcasting, both in the Italian context and the present day American filming.
- In the 20th century American films, the themes that were used in the Italian cinemas still resound. Scriptwriters and filmmakers still produce U.S. comedies, love films, sexual themed films, and several other films that have adopted the Italian styles and storylines.
The themes of love, betrayal, hatred, sexuality, relationships, money, politics as well as comedy among others, have been present since conception of cinemas. The neo-realism films discussed social issues in the 1960s and 70s. Similarly, U.S. producers of the 20th century such as Spike Lee and Alejandro Alcondez have maintained the themes of social construction, love, and politics as well as drama in their films. In “A Past That Will Not Pass': Italian Cinema And The Return To The 1970s" for instance, O'Rawe compares Italian cinema of the 1970s to the present day American movies, and suggests that there have been minimal changes from the past, just advancements (p. 110).
The first point talks about neorealism films as the examples are given. The second point explains how the neorealism film personalities have influenced the present day American films. Finally, the third point explains how politics has affected the neorealism films, and how it has affected the cinema today. Thanks
Brunetta, GianPiero.The history of Italian cinema: a guide to Italian film from its origins to the twenty-first century. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2009. Print.
O'Rawe, Catherine. "'A Past That Will Not Pass': Italian Cinema And The Return To The 1970S." New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film 9.2/3 (2012): 101-113. Academic Search Complete. Web. 6 Nov. 2013.
Hake, Sabine. "Art And Exploitation: On The Fascist Imaginary In 1970S Italian Cinema." Studies In European Cinema 7.1 (2010): 11-19. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 6 Nov. 2013.
Schoonover, Karl. Brutal Vision: The Neorealist Body in Postwar Italian Cinema. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2012. Print