Daily Archives: May 24, 2019

Umberto D: Neorealism Is Alive And Well

Umberto D. (1952)

Written by Cesare Zavattini

Directed by Vittorio De Sica

Umerbto D, Vittorio De Sica's tribute to his father, could be viewed as a farewell to Italian Neo Realism. The year was 1951. Reconstruction in Italy after WWII had been well on its way. The conditions from which directors and writers had given birth to this style of filmmaking had all but changed. However, as things "improved" in Italy, there were many other places in the world that were experiencing what Italy had in 1945. Umberto D was not only a clinic on Neorealist films, it was also a film that transitions itself to end with a cinematic claim to the end of Neorealism and this period in Italy. But writers and directors in other countries we're so inspired by Italy's neorealist legacy that it can be viewed as the beginning of Neorealism for the rest of the world. During the war under Mussolini, much like the country as a whole, the film industry was controlled by national fascist interests. Filmmakers either had to cooperate with the controlling government or make films which pleased the fascist regime which usually violated their own creative sensibilities. During this time many of the filmmakers vowed an "Italian Spring" where they would be free to express the truth of Italy on screen. Soon after Italy was liberated these filmmakers got their chance and Italian Neorealism was born. The subject matter was simple, present Italy in its most truthful sense. Screen writer Cesare Zavattini, who worked with De Sica on The Bicycle Thief and Umberto D explains that Neorealism was simply an attempt not to use style or creative film technique to obscure the reality of life in Italy at the time. "The task of the artist – the neorealist artist at least …

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