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Italian Neorealism: From The Earth Trembles to Umberto D

In the aftermath of World War II, Italy was bursting with creative energy. Poets, essayists, novelists, and filmmakers all expressed a renewed hope in the future. In cinema, this newfound optimism resulted in the cinematic style known as “neorealism.” Neorealism brought innovation and authenticity to films by utilizing nonprofessional actors, conversational speech, and actual locations rather than studios. Filmmakers crafted vivid portrayals of the human condition; they crystallized the horrors of the war together with the fight for freedom; and they captured the poignant essence of daily life alongside the appalling deficiencies of public institutions and the shattering poverty of regular families. In addition to well-known masterpieces like Ossessione (1943), Rome, Open City (1945), and The Bicycle Thief (1948), the leading neorealist directors produced other poignant films as well, including Luchino Visconti’s The Earth Trembles (1948) and Bellissima (1951); Roberto Rossellini’s Paisan (1946) and Germany Year Zero (1948); and Vittorio De Sica’s The Children Are Watching Us (1944), Shoeshine (1946), and Umberto D (1952). This course will focus on these lesser known films and discuss the birth of this cinematic movement and its worldwide influence. An exploration of the intricacies of Italian language and culture also will be covered.

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You'll Walk Away with

  • Increased analytical skills and cultural literacy
  • An understanding of the principles of neorealism, its impact throughout the world, and its continued relevance today

Ideal for

  • Film and history buffs
  • All members of the community—working, retired, and in-between
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.