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Italian Neorealist Cinema

Torunn Haaland

eBook (ePub) i

Charts the birth of Italian neorealism

How has Italian neorealist cinema changed the boundaries of cinematic narration and representation? Torunn Haaland argues that neorealism was a cultural moment and accounts for the tradition’s coherence in terms of its moral commitment to creating critical viewing experiences around underrepresented realities and marginalised people. She examines acclaimed masterpieces and lesser known works and draws parallels to realist theories and cinematic traditions. She evaluates the ways in which successive generations of directors have readopted, negotiated and broken with the themes and aesthetics of neorealist film, along with neorealist tendencies in other arts, such as literature.

An engaging and informative read for students and scholars in Italian Studies, Italian Neorealist Cinema presents a new approach to a key cinematic tradition, and so is essential reading for everyone working in the field of Film Studies.


List of figures
Chapter 1. A moment and a country
Chapter 2. Realism and neorealism
Chapter 3. Literary neorealism: narration and testimony
Chapter 4. Rossellini’s cities of war and resistance
Chapter 5. Wandering among De Sica’s urbanites: shoeshiners, bicycle thieves, miraculous outcasts and a man with a dog
Chapter 6. Visconti’s worlds of aestheticism and ideology: between tradition and invention, from country to city
Chapter 7. Faces and spaces of neorealism: from dystopian cities to utopian countries
Chapter 8. The journey beyond neorealism: streetwalkers, political rebels, anti-mafia resisters, stolen children and unwanted citizens

About the Author

Torunn Haaland is Assistant Professor of Italian in the Department of Modern Languages at Gonzaga University.


In recent years, Italian cinema—and in particular its highest moment, neo-realism—has enjoyed a revival within international scholarship. This has contributed to emphasize Italian cinema’s centrality and its fertile influence on all world cinema of the postwar period.

Within this panorama, Torunn Haaland’s book appears as one of the most brilliant and most capable of combining rigorous documentation with a reading of cinema history as part of a larger cultural, political and social history of Italy in the postwar period, adding to this the passion of an authentic researcher.

- Gian Piero Brunetta, University of Padoua

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