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Italian Cinema Midterm
Terms in this set (23)
- Dead today as a movement that bore the stamp of a social reality as an exclusive object of interest.
- "Today the interest is drawn to man himself - his metaphysical, psychological, and total structure." -Federico Fellini
The Italian Economic Boom
- The industrial output rose at a rate of 6%
- This rapid increase in the economy led to a correspondingly radical transformation in Italian life and society
- This industrial boom meant new jobs - yet almost all were in the North
* As a result, there was massive immigration from Southern Italy to the Northern industrialized triangle (the area between Milan-Turin-Genoa)
* This exacerbated the already dire economic imbalance between North and South
* Industry was stimulated in the North, human resources were drained from the agrarian Southern countryside and resulted in the abandonment of many of the newly created family farms
I Vitelloni (Federico Fellini)
Fausto - the ladies' man with his widower father
Leopoldo - the intellectual of the group, with some spinster aunts
Alberto - with his mother and his sister Olga, the family's sole bread-winner
Riccardo and Moraldo - with their parents
- On the surface, the film's attitude - particularly the voiceover - seems to want to condemn the vitelloni for their irresponsibility and their outward pursuit of pleasure and amusement.
- In fact, more than a condemnation of the vitelloni for their irresponsibility, the film seems to poke fun at the specific economic and cultural environment that spawned them.
* The pettiness of the small-town gossips
* Fausto's boring job in a religious objects store
* On the one hand, Fausto is a cad; on the other, the alternative is excruciating.
Divorce Italian Style (Pietro Germi)
- A satire of marriage - the convention of middle-class Italian society per excellence
- In the films of the previous generation marriage, and the family was used to symbolically express wartime togetherness
- In this movie, marriage is characterized by disintegration and irony:
* but also a possible manifestation of the social upheaval in those years
- Divorce was not legalized in Italy until 1970
- It wasn't until 1974 that the issue was finally settled: in that year, a majority of Italian voters defeated a proposal to repeal the legislation
- Italy was among the last Western European countries to legalize divorce (Spain and Ireland came later in 1981 and 1996)
- Much of Italy's legal code through the 1950s and 60s - especially in regard to women and the family - varied little from how it was in the
Divorce Italian Style cont.
- The gender inequality the film plays on stereotypes of the "backwardness" of Sicily
- The power relations between men
- The corruption, the exchanges of favors: the culture of the mafia
- The neorealist concern for documenting a certain moral question regarding society is completely mocked.
- According to an antiquated article of Italy's penal code:
* Disgraced husbands and wives who have been cheated on by their partners and have killed them in retaliation can be cleared of murder charges if they can prove they acted out of passion and in defense of their honor
* Punishment for such a crime would only have been 3-7 years in prison.
- The film is the use of point-of-view narration: sometimes is amplified and sometimes undermined by the relationship between sound and image.
- The 1934 Nobel Prize winner whose novels and plays are characterized by a questioning of the very notion of character itself.
* In other words, the notion of character moves from external influence, to internal.
- His characters all conveyed the tension between:
* the self as it appears to society (that is, the "mask")
* and the individual's ideals, desires, and instincts (or the "face")
- That is, the characters wear masks as they act in their socially defined roles, masks which are always threatened by the conflict with the personality they hide underneath.
Quote by Pirandello
"A fact is like a sock - it won't stand up if it's empty. To make it stand up, first you have to put in it all the reasons and feelings that accused it in the first place."
The Southern Question
- The growing economic divide between North and South
- The North and South were - and still are - radically different in terms of language, social, and religious practice
* these differences are due to the vastly different foreign influences that had occupied them through the centuries
* Northern Italy was occupied by Austria and France in the 18th and 19th centuries, while Southern Italy was under the Spanish Bourbon rule.
La Dolce Vita (Federico Fellini)
- A character study and an attempt to depict certain truths about Italian culture and society
- From the late 1950s to the late 1960s, domestic films in a number of genres began to conquer not only a large segment of the internal market, but an international audience as well
- Moreover, for the first time in Italian cinema, artistic and commercial success seemed to intersect
- The episode suggests the powerful position that film occupied in the Italian public sphere at that
- by giving Fellini's film such a central place within his own, Germi seems to anticipate the similarly unsettling effect that Divorce Italian Style would have on the cultural scene
- Divorce Italian Style won the 1962 Oscar for screenplay and the prize and Cannes for Best Film Comedy
- When it premiered at Cannes in 1960, it was booed by its audience
- However, the next morning a statement was issued signed by 25 filmmakers and critics that denounced the behavior of the audience and affirmed their belief in the film
- The film won a special prize by the jury "for its remarkable contribution to the search for a new cinematic language."
The Plot of L'Avventura
- it failed to answer what it set up as its principal question: what happened to Anna?
- the film's unusual narrative structure lies in the fact that this central mystery moves to the periphery of importance, and is gradually forgotten
- there are scenes that give the film the expectations of a mystery (such as the police interrogation): they go nowhere... it's left open, vague
- "it's no longer important to make a film about a man whose significance lies in the fact that he has had his bicycle stolen."
- it's no longer significant what happens to us in the world, but how we respond to the world
- what we feel and think, our emotions and psychology
*** this was important to cinema
- The characters' feelings are not directly expressed whether in dialogue or through performance
* instead, an idea of what these feelings might be emerges in two ways:
1. from the way the characters are viewed
2. the way they are seen to react to what they themselves are shown to be seeing
- if there is a sense of uncertainty that pervades their relationships (or the trajectory of their lives), it is because nothing is ever confirmed:
* looks between characters are not reciprocated
- solution is through images: images that are juxtaposed in a way that speaks to the character's psyche
- the camera movement and editing are in a constant process of flux:
* the camera pans, tracks, reframes, moves to a new position constantly
- but none of these new details create a stable narrative or a logic
- aims to present a scene so that the editing is "invisible" (not consciously noticed by the viewer)
* in this way, the viewer is never distracted by awkward jumps between shots
* or by any confusion about the spatial lay-out of the scene
~ classical editing sustains a "smooth" and "seamless" style of narration for 2 reasons:
1. its conventionality
2. it uses a number of techniques designed to give a sense of spatial and temporal order and continuity
The French Wave
Directors such as Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and Claude Charbol made radical experiments with editing, visual style, and narrative which was part of a general break with what they considered a conservative and outmoded film language
This theory holds that the director is the "author" of his or her films, and has a personal signature visible from film to film.
L'Avventura 180 rule
- Sandro looks at Claudia, then away, off to the right
- He sees the old man coming up the hill
* we expect a kind of shot and counter shot
* yet he comes in from the left, not the right as we might have expected
* Sandro comes into the frame from the opposite direction than the one we anticipated
- An essential element of continuity editing
- Rule states that the camera must stay on only one side of the actions and objects in a scene
* an invisible line - known as the 180 degree line or axis of action - runs through the space of the scene
- The predominant style of film editing in the classical cinema.
- The goal is to make the work of the editor as invisible as possible:
* the viewer should not notice cuts, and shots should flow together naturally. In this way, the sequence of shots appears to be continuous
Visual Cue in L'Avventura
- Transitional architecture (which conjures transitions between worlds - old and new - as well as mental states)
- The archways, the doorways, long corridors that are featured in many shots
* we have the sense that it is the actual image that are narrating the story.
The malady of the emotional life
- major theme in L'Avventura - Antonioni famously said, in reference to the film, "Eros is sick."
- We see the idle, leisure upper class engaging in this kind of escapist sex, that relieves a persistent but indefinable psychological anguish
- again, first scene in which we see Anna and Sandro - she wants to talk about what is wrong with their relationship
* neither knows what they are doing, or what this anguish comes from
~ Anna repeats "why, why, why, why"