It sought to deal realistically with the events leading up to the war and with their resulting social problems. Rooted in the 1920s, it was similar to the verismo ("realism") movement, from which it originated, but differed in that its upsurge resulted from the intense feelings inspired by fascist repression, the Resistance, and the war. Italian aesthetic movement that flourished especially after World War II.
Neorealism in film embraced a documentary-like objectivity; actors were often amatuers, and the action centred on commonplace situations. Often crudely and hastily made, Neorealist productions stood in stark contrast to traditional escapist feature films.
It must be said that neorealist style, like most styles, does not have an inherent political message. The most common attribute of neorealism is location shooting and the dubbing of dialogue. The dubbing allowed for filmmakers to move in a more open miss-en-scene. Principal characters would be portrayed mostly by trained actors while supporting members (and sometimes principals) would be non-actors. The idea was to create a greater sense of realism through the use of real people rather than all seasoned actors. The rigidity of non-actors gave the scenes more authentic power. This sense of realism made Italian neorealism more than an artistic stance, it came to embody an attitude toward life.
The Bicycle Thief stands alongside Rossellini's Rome, Open City as a neorealist achievement. It was, however, not without its own controversy. The film offered no slick solutions and so fell between the firing lines of the country's ideological debate--to conservatives it was impermissible to show society's flaws so brazenly, to the left, it lacked analysis and a clear agenda for social change. De Sica says to us though, "My films are a struggle against the absence of human solidarity. . .against the indifference of society towards suffering. They are a word in favor of the...