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. Ideologically, the characteristics of Italian neorealism were: 1. a new democratic spirit, with emphasis on the value of ordinary people 2. a compassionate point of view and a refusal to make facile (easy) moral judgements 3. a preoccupation with Italy's Fascist past and its aftermath of wartime devastation 4. a blending of Christian and Marxist humanism
5. an emphasis on emotions rather than abstract ideas
Stylistically, Italian Neorealism was:
1. an avoidance of neatly plotted stories in favor of loose, episodic structures that evolve organically 2. a documentary visual style
3. the use of actual locations--usually exteriors--rather than studio sites 4. the use of nonprofessional actors, even for principal roles 5. use of conversational speech, not literary dialogue
6. avoidance of artifice in editing, camerawork, and lighting in favor of a simple "styless" style The beginnings of Italian Neorealism can be found with the director, Roberto Rossellini. His movie, Rome, Open City. It is a movie about the collaboration of the Catholics and Communists fighting Nazi occupation of Rome shortly before the American army liberated the city. Some of the footage is reported to have actually been shot during the Nazi retreat out of the...