From Rossellini to Fellini: Neorealism and its Legacy in Italian Cinema

In the rubble-strewn world of the immediate post-Second World War period, the films by Rossellini, Visconti, De Santis and De Sica (and the scripts by Zavattini) amounted to a landmark event and established Italian Neorealism as a worldwide cause célèbre.

This artistic movement, exemplary both in aesthetic achievements and ethical commitment, proved to reverberate durably in time. It influenced successive waves of younger Italian filmmakers who later became great auteurs in their own right; and it travelled widely in space, with an enormous impact on filmmakers the world over.

The topics covered are the following. Before the midterm: General intro to the class; Italian cinema under Fascism; Rossellini: Rome Open City (1945); Rossellini: Paisan (1946); Visconti: The Earth Trembles (1948); Rossellini: Stromboli (1949). After the midterm: De Sica: Bicycle Thieves (1948); De Santis: Bitter Rice (1949); De Sica: Umberto D. (1952); Lattuada: The Overcoat (1952); Fellini: The Nights of Cabiria (1957); Visconti: Rocco and His Brothers (1960). Last meeting: Fellini’s La dolce vita (1960) and final wrap-up.

All films are subtitled in English. The viewings will be introduced and/or followed by presentations and discussion.

Textbooks (REQUIRED)
Marcus, Millicent. Italian Film in the Light of Neorealism. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1986.
Bondanella, Peter. A History of Italian Cinema. New York: Continuum, 2011 (copyright 2009).

Prerequisite: None

Language of instruction: English

Course Registration