Discuss the influence of either the Expressionist or Neo-Realist theory of cinematic representation on the development of film noir.
‘Realism in art can only be achieved in one way – through artifice” Andre Bazin
For polemical purposes Bazin establishes a kind of heroic line of realist film-makers, beginning from Stroheim, Murnau and Flaherty in the silent period, represented by Renoir in the 1930’s and culminating in the 1940’s with a (theoretical not actual) coalition of the Italian neo-realists and certain American film-makers whose use of specific techniques made them pre-eminently realist whether they were aware of it or not.
Their aesthetic is one which ‘integrates reality’ into the film; the realistic material (provided by reality) permits the artist to discover realistic ‘means of expression’. The Americans (principally Orson Welles and William Wyler, with the help and influence of the cameraman Gregg Toland, who worked with both of them) are realistic because they use deep-focus cinematography, a technical device which enables film-makers to show foreground, middle ground and background simultaneously in one shot with equal clarity, allowing the spectator to pick and choose from a wealth of stimuli.
In literature the term neo realism was already being mentioned in the early 1920’s. European realism/naturalism influenced American realism in literature and paved the way for this new style in cinematic language to make way in the troublesome era of post war period.
The Term Paper on What Are the Key Differences Between Realism and Neo-Realism? Does This Make Neo-Realism a “Better” Theory of International Relations?
WHAT ARE THE KEY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN REALISM AND NEO-REALISM? DOES THIS MAKE NEO-REALISM A “BETTER” THEORY OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS? ‘The strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept,’ this famous quote from the Melian dialogue constitutes the iron law of realism, which arguably has dominated international arena for approximately 2,500 years. But it ...
When during the Second World War, one part of the world was struggling to defeat the Germans, America was cheering its audiences in cinemas with lavish films, high style protagonists for entertainment produced with well oiled machinery and well sophisticated film studios. However the disaster and defeat the rest of Europe was experiencing couldn’t but be reflected in the films produced in the countries plagued by despair and hopelessness.
When Mussolini founded Cinecitta in 1937 in Italy the country was under the influence of Fascism and Hitler was preparing to invade Europe and increase his strength under the Nazi regime. Luchino Visconte Ossessione (1942) is based on James M. Cain’s “The Postman Always Rings Twice”. Several Italian intellectuals admitted that their encounter with American Literature has been one of the most significant and rewarding experiences. Strange as it may seem the violence and deep pessimism of Steinbeck, Cain, Hemingway, Faulkner and Caldwell (naturalist or realist writers), whose works were widely spread in Italy in the 30’s had actually given them the measure of hope and courage they needed to continue living and writing.
Various people have made claim to its first usage of phrase although Visconti admitted his debt to Gramsci, a Sardinian , leader of Italian Communist party, who was imprisoned for ten years in Mussolini’s prison and died in his mid-thirties. He suggested in contrast to the traditional structure within Italy a partly objective use of social psychology, economic history and sociology. The preoccupation with neorealist cinema with these areas underlines his influence. Visconti worked with French director Renoir, where he admits that “Renoir taught me the way to work with actors”. The French Poetic Realism directors had paved the way to Rossellini Roberto (Rome Open City (1945-6), where he claims that he had admiration for Rene Clair and so Vittorio de Sica (Umberto D. (1952).
After reading this week’s assignment and researching different types of film and popular cinema, I have realized some of the differences between the two. I always thought they were the same thing but found that to be far from the truth. Film is a way of putting art into motion. I viewed several pieces on different websites, in particular, on YouTube. I watched one called White Noise. It had no ...
It was the first major film movement in film making where men where seen of who they really are in their real environments and every day life. Here cinema started to drift away from the Fascist’s ideology to represent reality, as gritty and cynic as it may seem.
American Noir begins with roots in German Expressionism then with the swing in global mood of World War II, Noir is influenced by Italian neo realism. The theme of hopelessness, cynicism and depression is depicted in hard boiled scripts ideally styled for the American movies of the Forties. As soon as the war was over however American films became markedly more sardonic-and there was a boom in crime film. The disillusionment that brought with it the war to the man in the street, the house wife, the soldier returning back home, the businessman was directly mirrored in the sordidness of the urban crime film. (The Blue Dahlia, Dead Reckoning and Cornered), where the serviceman returns from the war to find his sweetheart unfaithful or dead, or his business partner cheating him. The war continues but now the antagonism turns towards the American society itself.
Shortly after the war every film producing country had a resurgence of realism. The post-war realistic trend succeeded in breaking film noir away from the domain of the high class melodrama, placing it where it more properly belonged, in the streets with everyday people. Studio making Films like The Big Sleep and The Mask of Dimitrios were seen as polite and conventional compared to their later, more realistic counterparts. Here we see the resemblance in the technique used in Italian neorealism where the world is the stage and the man in the street, seemingly doing nothing is followed and has his life/story documented for us to reflect and think, not just for mere entertainment. Here the pre occupation was man. Reconstruction started from the most derelict place of all – man himself. Cinema must tell a reality as if it were a story, there must be no gap between life and what is on screen as in a documentary style. Zavattini’s ‘fact’ and Rossellini’s ‘event’ are both categories taken up by the French critic Andre’ Bazin, who is at once the most substantial international defender of neo realism and the most thoughtful writer about film realism in general . The element of Pure cinema, as William Wyler describes it in his essay, is depicted in the mise-en-scene artistically in the form of Truth “if you re-establish truth you give it expression. If it’s a dead truth, you feel it false, it is not truly expressed’ Rossellini said.
If we compare the present with the past, if we trace events at all epochs to their causes, if we examine the elements of human growth, we find that Nature has raised us to what we are, not by fixed laws, but by provisional expedients, and that the principle which in one age effected the advancement of a nation, in the next age retarded the mental movement, or even destroyed it altogether. War, ...
The most important notions are responsibility, warmth and understanding. See the man of what s/he really is. Siegfried Kracauer’s view is exactly this. He considers that film comes into its own when it records and reveals physical reality-streets, crowds, involuntary gestures and other fleeting impressions are its very meat. The principle aim of neo-realist cinema was the perfect aesthetic illusion of reality. Two films which were both made in 1948, Bicycle Theives (De Sica) and La Terra Trema (Visconti) . No professional actors were used, almost all the music track was from apparently natural sounds like church bells (same with Ermanno Olmi’s Il Posto, 1961).
Although the actors were non professionals, brilliant performances were moulded from them.
As the political trend in Italy became unfavourable to neo-realist cinema, the neo realist directors found it more difficult to distribute and finance their films. There was high unemployment in Italy and the anxieties spread to the film industry. Actors felt that neo realism undermined the star system and the simple technical style of its films vitiated the work of the craftsman technician. In 1948, a law made it obligatory for producers to shoot a percentage of films in sound studios and this led to the next act against neo-realist cinema. Only what is relatively important politically is censored, and here we find another indication for measuring the popularity of films.
Forty years after Raymond Borde and ?tienne Chaumeton defined the challenge, critical commentators on film noir continue to grapple with it. Ironically, American writers did not immediately take up consideration of this indigenous phenomenon and the question of its "essential traits." Only gradually in a frequently cross-referenced series of essays in the 1970s did they begin to express ...
Existentialism was partly a response to war-torn Europe, so too was the disquietude of post-war America (the Communist threat, the Bomb) reflected in the films’ fear ridden atmosphere. Thus this mood of pessimism, authoritarian structures and flawed characters we find in films of the post-war realistic period from 1945-49 in America. Less romantic and with realistic urban look in such films as The House on 92nd Street, The Killers, Raw Deal, Ride the Pink Horse, Kiss of Death ,Cry of the City, The Set up, T-men, Ruthless, Boomerang! and The Naked City. For the film noir protagonist the city is both a mother and a whore, the Jungian archetype of the female characterized as a ‘harlot’, lurking behind Sartre’s conception of the natural world. Set down in a violent and incoherent world, the film noir hero tries to deal with it in the best way he can, attempting to create some order out of chaos, to make some sense of this world. In the third and final phase of film noir, from 1949-53 was the period of psychotic action and suicidal impulse. Like the Hemingway hero, most film noir protagonists fear death but are not themselves afraid to die, indeed a good deal of what dignity they possess is derived from the way they react to the threat of death (The Big Sleep), James Cagney in White Heat spits out ”I made it Ma. Top of the World!” Just before he ignites the gasoline tank on which he is perched.
There seems to be an almost Freudian attachment to water, rain seems to increase in proportion to the drama. The film noir characters with the trench-coated figure standing in the rain drenched street underneath a street-lamp, a shadow hiding behind a curtain and femme fatale who lure their men in doing criminal acts to satisfy their independence or greed. The only sanctuary left for the non heroic hero is his Spartan office or apartment room, trying to use the quiet and solitude to try to order their lives, a momentary stay against confusion. Moving in and out of shadows so dark at times to obscure him completely, diagonal and horizontal lines pierced his body (again Jungian shadows symbolsing the pathos of existence).
This style of dark, oppressive and corrupt world of deep focusing were brought to an end by the changing conditions of production and production techniques in the 1950’s.It was also crowded out by optimism of the 50’s and early 60’s that booming economy of America was experiencing at the time.
New York City that is depicted in Taxi Driver seems to be too real to be true. It is a place where violence runs rampant, drugs are cheap, and sex is easy. This world may be all too familiar to many that live in major metropolitan areas. But, in the film there is something interesting, and vibrant about the streets that Travis Bickle drives alone, despite the amount of danger and turmoil that ...