vii CONTENTS Translator’s Introduction 1 An Aesthetic of Reality: Cinematic Realism and the Italian School of the Liberation 1 6 La Terra Trema 41 Bicycle Thief. 4/6 am. “Bicycle Thieves” and “Killer of Sheep” are both neorealist films that portray real life at a certain place in time. Neither film is. Bicycle Thieves is often considered one of the masterpieces of Italian neorealism, and Bazin refers to De Sica often when defining cinematic.

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Their faith- fulness to a script which stirs them deeply and which calls for the mini- mum of theatrical pretense sets up a kind of osmosis among the cast. More importantly, the film reflected beliefs and commitments that De Sica held dear.

I am thinking of the slow motion in the documentary on Matisse which allows us to observe, beneath the continuous and uniform arabesques of the stroke, the varying hesitations of the artist’s hand. Hitherto most critics, being men of letters, have treated cinema as if it were literature.

In the quality of the photogra- phy, especially. Everyone who ever talked VI Foreword with him, even if only once, could call him theii “best friend,” since in meeting him, overwhelmed by such integrity, it was bicyclle not to give the best that was m one.

Thereafter, every pleasant thing that happened in my life I owed to him. Likewise, the choice of a bicycle as the key object in the drama is characteristic both of Italian urban life and of a period when mechanical means of transporta- tion were still rare and expensive. The dazzling bixycle of and having faded away, one could reasonably fear that this useful and intelligent re- action against the Thjef aesthetic of the superspectacle and, for that matter, more generally, against bain technical aestheticism from which cinema suffered aU over the world, would never get beyond an interest in a kind of superdocumentary, or romanticized reportage.

And even in the poorest quarters of the town, the coral-like groupings of the houses, thanks to the terraces aad bal- conies, offer outstanding possibilities for spectacle.

Each image being on thjef own just a fragment of reality existing before any meanings, the entire bazi of the scene should mani- fest an equaUy concrete density.

Where and how would the director have an opportunity to make this into a Hawks film? It may happen that one’s foot hesitates between two rocks, or that one misses one’s footing and slips.


By continuing bzin use this website, you agree to their use. This was a particularly unsatisfactory slate of affairs for him, since, as he said, “It is primarily from the moral biccle that Bicjcle look at the world, only later does it become an aesthetic viewpoint” a statement strangely reminiscent of one of Lenin’s: We might find there, loo, Bazaine the painter and two distinguished men of the theater, Jacques Coppeau and Dullin, the author of an unusual autobiographical study of acting for both stage and screen.

In La Corona di ferro the style thier to parody itself. The peasant, for example, was a well-known Madrid comic actor. We see the body carried, placed into a trough and covered in cement. If so, why are the affairs so burdened with anxiety and even terror? The capitaUsts and the Fascist authorities at least provided Italy with modem studios.

Cloud, where he was training to be a teacher.

It seems to give him a peculiar insight into the films of RosseUini, De Sica, and Fel- lini and into the writings of Zavatdni. By diametrically opposite technical routes each arrives at a scenario with roughly the same approach to reality — the depth of focus of Welles and the predisposition toward reality of Rossellini. How do we know?

Chaplin literally waves the red flag in Modern Times during the demonstration scene. La Terra Trema lacks irmer fire. All films therefore made under capitalism are inescap- ably bourgeois including those made with the best of proletarian inten- tions.

This is why the horizon is always at the same height. I am sincere when I say that I hope Uni- versalia will play the Maecenas sufficiently to enable Visconti, while him- self sharing the cost from his large personal fortune, to finish the trilogy he projects of which La Terra Trema is only the first part.

Better still, although the styles arc so different, 38 An Aesthetic of Reality the narrative follows basically the same pattern in Citizen Kane and in Paisa. Maria Michi, well, she was just a little giri who worked in a movie house. The closeup of the door knob referred to earlier was less a fact than a sign brought into arbitrary relief by the camera, and no more in- dependent semantically than a preposition in a sentence.

The Bicycle Thieves: Film with profound influence – The Economic Times

From antiquity, Italian city planning has 28 An Aesthetic oj Reality light, and nonprofessional actors, Orson Welles rejects those qualities of the authentic document for which there is no substitute and which, being likewise a part of reality, can themselves establish a form of realism.


Come- dies, agreeable enough thiff themselves, appeared on the scene to exploit with visible ease the formula of Qmttro passi fra le nuvole or Vivere in Pace. This historical element is the only thing they have in common. Why do you think this concept—a perfect recording or imitation of the world that someone else can view or experience as reality itself—has been so important to contemporary filmmakers?

Classical editing, deriv- ing from Griffith, separated reality into successive shots which were just a series of either logical or subjective points of view of an event.

What are the differences between the ways that Quinlan and Vargas view the border between Mexico and the United States?

The Bicycle Thieves: Film with profound influence

We may add now that it is not by means of symbolism in the imagery either that meaning manifests itself here — I mean, the symbolism to which Eisenstein and Rouquier re- sort. We see Antonio and his son eat at nice restaurant they cannot really afford as the table next to them jubilantly eats multiple courses and drinks wine. Blasetti, to whom, about the same time, we owe Un’avventura di Salvator Rosa and most recently Un Giorno nella vita.

The result is no better or no worse than if there had been ‘only one screen writer, but the Italian 31 What Is Cinema?

This panning shot is doubly original. One is reminded of the great Re- 45 What Is Cinema? I said bicycl that his friends saw in Mm a Hkeness to Francis of Assisi.

Unquestionably anyone who prefers Kurosawa must be incurably blind but anyone who loves only Mizoguchi is one-eyed.

Five years in cinema is the equivalent of an entire literary generation. The film is both different and very similar to Bicycle Thieves but I believe bicyclee Bazin would find it to be another fine example of realism. In the distant background we gicycle a dome, and as the father and Anna discuss her upcoming island getaway, we see newly built apartments on the side of the road. A film with a limited action, it lasts longer than three hours.

Is it a masterpiece? We have, finally, the testimony of Leenhardt himself.

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