Open City, by Roberto Rossellini, "the father of neorealism films," was acclaimed as "Europe's first post-war masterpiece" and winner of the Best Picture Award at the 1946 Cannes Film Festival. In a paragraph or two, what characteristics of neorealism were evident in Open City?
Open City featured many characteristics of neorealism. First off the film was shot on location and used only natural light. Many of the scenes were dark or unclear and this is a part of the neorealism shooting style. Although many of the reasons for these characteristics are due to lack of budget, they add to the reality of the stories being captured. The story itself also included many neorealism characteristics such as individual stories about those who are poor and suffering in Italy. The stories were very straight forward and showed the true suffering and struggle that each character went through. The film did not sugar coat or leave anything unsaid, instead the harsh reality was laid out right in front of you. For example the pregnant woman, who was about to get married to a man who was a member of a Nazi resistance group, gets killed defending him. Not only does the film show the killing but it shows her son running after her. The film also shows a priest being killed for his anti-Nazi beliefs. All of these scenes are very dramatic and strait forward. These harsh characteristics simply define neorealism.
According to the text, Traditions in World Cinema, Rossellini captured the tension and the tragedy of Italian life under German occupation. It was also stated in the text that Rossellini relied on dramatic actors, not non-professionals. The text also states that Rossellini aims to move our emotions rather than our intellects with a melodramatic account of Italian Resistance to Nazi oppression.It is personally felt that statement is very accurate. There are many emotional scenes throughout the film. The scene where the mother is shot and her son and priest come to her. The reason she is running in the street is emotional. The torture scene is also extremely emotional and almost tough to watch. It is so sad hearing that man yell out in pain. The only lighting change I really noticed was the torture scene. This makes the scene more dramatic. The reality of post war can be quite ugly. The film shows aspects of love, betrayal, oppression, guilt, death, and disappointment. Rossellini uses such qualities to enhance the use of neorealism in this film.
Open city had a few characteristics of neorealism. One of them being how there were non actors in the movie. For example the kids that came out in the movie were not actors. They were ordinary people which gave the movie a sense of Realness. Therefore, the idea of neorealism is to create a greater sense of realism through the use of real people rather than all experienced actors.Another neorealism characteristic I noticed was the use of actual locations instead of studio sites. This helped it seemed more real to the viewers which is a goal in neorealism. Rossellini is the father of neorealism and does a great job portraying the characteristics in his film.
Neorealism was shown in the characteristics in the movie open city by the actors or characters that where chosen for the movie. Rossellini depicted his story with non actors in order to portray italian life the way it really was. The goal to neorealism is to be able to show the audience the story as if it were happening on a normal basis and that is what the director did in this movie. The scenes in the movie that showed the most reality was the emotions presented by the characters and the gruesome scenes, for instance when the priest is being tortured. The torture scenes are what make the movie feel so real because it is what really happened during that time.
Neorealism is about capturing reality in films. Open City did that not by hiring actors, but by using real people in the movie. Rosellini also captured neorealism by using natural light and filming outdoors. Not only did this save money it was a very popular style for Italian Cinema and paved the way for a lot of movies. Without using actors in the film, viewers are able to see real, raw emotion, without being distracted by someone trying to act but actually being.
Roberto Rossellini was one of the major figures in Italian cinema to capture neorealism in his films. In his film "Open City", Rossellini shows the idea of neorealism by using real people to portray his characters rather than hire professional actors. By using genuine people and on location settings he was able to capture what Italian life was like after the war. Viewers of the movie are able to get a sense of what type of lifestyle and emotions were going on in this movie because real people where expressing what was really going on at the time and in their lives. The torture scenes looked very real and the shooting of the film with natural light gave the idea of really being back in the time the film was shot. Rossellini does an excellent job showing the harsh, cruel, but very real life under the nazi regime.
open city was an amazing film you can see how real it is by just feeling the actors sense of realness. not only was it real but you can feel the emotion of real people taking the film to a common level. it is very relateable and something you will remember viewing in the future.