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Classical Hollywood Cinema and Italian Neorealism

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Classical Hollywood Cinema and Italian Neorealism

Classical Hollywood Cinema and Italian Neorealism were the two different phases that brought out changes in the way we perceive cinema, having an influence on each other and with each having their unique features. Classical Hollywood Cinema dates to the era around 1910s and the 1960s. It was also known as the Golden age where the silent movies gave place to the techniques of sounds and voice. On the other hand, Italian Neorealism also made its presence felt somewhere in 1943 and then was finally adapted by the people in 1952.

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It was a new movement in the history of cinema developed at the backdrop of the terrible experiences of the World War II. Italian Neorealism stalked its own new territory in the cinematic era showing influence of anti-fascism that made its impact in post world war II era.

As reflected by Dana Polan, there was a general feeling that romantic relationships were just part time activity and would create bad impact on the spirit of war.

On the movie of Casablanca, Polan said that it is a story of romance based on the separation of Ilsa from Lazlo in Paris. The ending of the movie is also ambiguous whereby there is an uncertainness about the behavior of the characters and the way war would end. This uncertainness was the feeling felt by the Americans in their daily lives. (Polan, Online)

Both the Classical Hollywood Cinema and Italian Neorealism revolved around realistic approach towards life. In almost all the Classical Hollywood films, we can see realism and truth of various aspects of our lives and Italian Neorealsim also touched upon the stories of our real lives. During the Classical Hollywood cinema era, there was a particular kind of storytelling favoring narrative type and a seamless style. In other words, films were structured in the way viewers could not be aware of how they were constructed and neo-realists cinema makers made the use of conversational speech. Marcia Landy has a very useful chapter, The Landscape and Neorealism, before and after, where she captures the motion of landscape in the narration, and takes a deleuzian approach to the refigured relation of character and its cinematic environment. In her remark on Rome Open and City, she says Italian resistance and political oppression is very well reflected by the killing of the priest and the engineer. Further she said, “there are many vague answers and unresolved issues that provide another level of interaction with the film beyond the familiar narrative trajectory”. (Landy, 2000 p. 134)

A particular type of storytelling was favored. The best example of Neorealistic cinema is Rome Open City directed by Roberto Rosselline, depicted in the narrative style, and realistic picture of a life of people at backdrop of Nazi soldiers, and Casablanca is a romantic story showing the psychological turbulence of a man when he has to face inner conflict between love and value. Though both the films revolve around the realism but classical Hollywood cinema is more of a fictional realistic while Italian neo-realism movies show every aspect of real life without any element of fiction. Classical Hollywood cinema was all based on the studio work while cinematically, filmmaker of neo-realism emerged out on the streets with their cameras and had more freedom to capture the lives as they saw it away from any fanaticism.

The shooting of entire film Casablanca was done in the studio while shooting of Rome Open City was undertaken at outside locations on the streets except for few sets, which were constructed inside as they were most important locations of the film. The film reflects the devastating scenes owing to the result of the evacuation of Germans from Rome. It was said  that the final film was produced from the different bits, giving the film a form of documentary or a style like newsreel. In Classical Hollywood cinema, film revolves around the actions of protagonists and his desires whereas in neorealism movies actions revolve around the social, political and economic situation of the area. Like in Rome Open City, it is the life and behavior of the people when Nazis marched towards town. In Cassablanca, protagonist has to choose between the woman he loves and his duty by giving help to her and her leader husband to escape from Casablanca while he fights against Nazis.

Several elements of artificiality is seen in editing, camerawork, and lighting in Classical Hollywood films while all the effects of the same appear real in the neorealism film. Story of Casablanca is undertaken with a constant approach and within a same sequence of time frame, while Rome Open City movie moves in the form of like loose episodes like structures.

World War II brought about the change in American cinema. It became medium of propaganda and mirror of the people engulfed or effected by the war. Filmmakers of the Classical Hollywood movies used the cinematic element of  fiction while representatives of the neorealisism adopted the temperament of truth and real life as they saw it.

Reference List
Landy, M. (2000). Italian Film. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Polan, D. Stylistic Regularities (and Peculiarities) of the Hollywood World War II Propoganda Film. Warners’ War: Politics, Pop Culture & Propaganda In Wartime Hollywood. 38-47. Retrieved on November 11, 2008 from W.W.W: http://www.learcenter.org/pdf/WWPolan.pdf


Cite this Classical Hollywood Cinema and Italian Neorealism

Classical Hollywood Cinema and Italian Neorealism. (2016, Sep 28). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/classical-hollywood-cinema-and-italian-neorealism/

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