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SEASON 1 FALL 2012 All films shown in LAT 7pm Friday FREE.

Art Center Film Club

NEOREALISM Italian neorealism became an international force in film immediately after the end of World War II and presented an ideal of film that abandoned the studio system for non-professional actors, documentary photography, non-Hollywood scripts, and a progressive ideology that seemed directly opposed to the cinema Italy had developed under the Fascist regime from 1922 to its fall in 1943. The series examines films by such directors as Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, Luchino Visconti, Federico Fellini, and Michelangelo Antonioni.


1. Open City (1945) As German soldiers march through town, Giorgio Manfredi eludes them by jumping across the rooftops. A priest, Don Pietro Pellegrini, helps the resistance by transmitting messages and money. Don Pietro is scheduled to officiate Pina’s wedding. Francesco, her betrothed, is not very religious, but would rather be married by a patriot priest than a fascist official. Her son, Marcello, and his friends have a small role in the resistance. Pina’s sister befriends Marina, Giorgio’s former girlfriend, who betrays the resistance in exchange for drugs, fur coats, and other creature comforts.

Roberto Rossellini

09. 21

2. Paisan (1946)


3. Stromboli (1950)

Six vignettes follow the Allied invasion from July 1943 to winter 1944, from Sicily north to Venice. Communication is fragile. A woman leads an Allied patrol through a mine field; she dies protecting a G.I., but the Yanks think she killed him. A street urchin steals shoes from a G.I. who tracks him to a shanty town. A G.I. meets a woman the day Rome is liberated; in six months they meet again: he’s cynical, she’s a prostitute. A US nurse braves the trip across the Arno into German fire in search of a partisan she loves. Three chaplains, including a Jew, call on a monastery north in the Apennines. Allied soldiers and partisans try to escape capture in the marshes of the Po.

Bergman plays Karin, a displaced Lithuanian in Italy, who escapes the internment camp by marrying an Italian POW fisherman (Mario Vitale), whom she met in the camp on the other side of the barbed wire. She soon discovers that his home island of Stromboli is very harsh and barren, and the people traditional and conservative. They act with hostility towards this strange, foreign woman. Karin speaks little Italian adding to her difficulties. Karin becomes increasingly despondent and eventually she wants to escape the volcano island. The film also features documentary-like segments about fishing and an actual evacuation of the town after an eruption of the volcano. Most villagers are played b y actua l p e op l e f rom t h e i sl a n d , a s is t y p ic a l o f neo-realism.


4. The Bicycle Thief (1948)


5. Two Women (1960)

Antonio Ricci is an unemployed man in the depressed post-World War II economy of Italy. With a wife and two children to support, he is desperate for work. He is delighted to at last get a good job pasting up posters, but he must have a bicycle. He is told unequivocally, “No bicycle, no job.� His wife Maria pawns their bedsheets in order to get money to redeem his bicycle from the pawnbroker.

The story centers on Cesira (Loren), a widowed Roman shopkeeper, and Rosetta (Brown), her devoutly religious twelve-year-old daughter, during World War II. To escape the Allied bombing of Rome, Cesira and her daughter flee southern Lazio for her native Ciociaria, a rural, mountainous province of central Italy.

Vittorio De Sica







6. La Terra Trema (1948)

10. 26

7. Rocco and His Brothers (1960)

The film can be divided by its prologue, three main phases and an epilogue. Its first part tells us about the fishermens’ attempt to improve their economic circumstances. They demand a better price for their fish, and it is symbolized by ‘Ntoni, the eldest son of Valastros family, throwing a pair of scales into the ocean, and the fishermen end up in prison. The wholesalers realize it is more profitable to have him and his friends fishing and release them. ‘Ntoni, who has lived on the mainland, had brought some new open minded ideas with him and he tries to form a cooperative, but no one joins him. In deciding to do it on his own, he convinces his family to mortgage their house to buy a boat and starts his new life. A festive mood is present in this sequence, with all the village joining Valastro’s family salting the fish in laughter and joy.

The drama is study of a rural Italian family led north to Milan by the matriarch (Katina Paxinou). Presented in five distinct sections, the film weaves the story of Vincenzo, Simone, Rocco, Ciro and Luca as they struggle to adapt to life in a large, impersonal city. The plot revolves around the prostitute, Nadia (Annie Girardot), who is pursued and desired by both Simone and Rocco (Alain Delon). The pivotal scene in the film comes when Simone rapes Nadia in front of Rocco, who then gives her up to his brother out of a tragic, misplaced desire to do whatever it takes to keep his family whole.

Luchino Visconti


8. La Strada (1954)


9. Nights of Cabiria (1957)

Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina), a fey young woman, learns her sister Rosa has died since going on the road with the strongman Zampanò (Anthony Quinn). Now the same man has returned a year later to ask her mother if Gelsomina will take Rosa’s place. The mother accepts 10,000 lire and her daughter departs the same day. Zampanò makes his living as an itinerant performer, entertaining crowds by breaking an iron chain bound tightly across his chest, then passing the hat for tips.

The film opens with Cabiria happy and laughing, on a river bank with her current boyfriend and live-in lover. He pushes her into the river and steals her purse which is full of money. She cannot swim and very nearly drowns, but is rescued and revived at the last possible moment by helpful ordinary people who live a little further down the river. The rest of the plot follows Cabiria as she plies her trade, interacts with her best friend and neighbor Wanda, and searches for a chance to better her life. She is frequently mistreated and taken advantage of, but she has some interesting adventures, and manages to keep her basic attitude to life positive.

Federico Fellini

11. 16

Michelangelo Antonioni

10. L’avventura (1960) L’Avventura has a narrative structure in which an apparently important central mystery is gradually forgotten and left unsolved. The story begins as two young women, Anna (Lea Massari) and Claudia (Monica Vitti), meet for a yacht trip. After picking up Anna’s lover Sandro (Gabriele Ferzetti), the three join two wealthy couples from Rome on the boat and visit “Lisca Bianca,” an almost unpopulated volcanic island off the coast of Sicily, where Anna shows her boredom and unhappiness with the sometimes childish Sandro. After napping on the rocks, they awaken to find that Anna has gone without a trace. Annoyed at first, then worried, they search for her, helped by Anna’s diplomat father who soon comes to the island with a police ship and helicopter.

SEASON 1 FALL 2012 POST-WAR ITALIAN CINEMA Roberto Rossellini 09.14 Open City 09.21 Paisan 09.28 Stromboli

Vittorio De Sica 10.05 The Bicycle Thief 10.12 Two Women

Luchino Visconti 10.19 La Terra Trema 10.26 Rocco and His Brothers

Federico Fellini 11.02 La Strada 11.09 Nights of Cabiria

Michelangelo Antonioni 11.16 L’avventura

Neorealism Poster  

A poster designed for the Art Center Film Club that can also be used as a brochure.

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