• Course Description:

    On-location shooting, shoestring budget, non-professional actors, and social commentary on the everyday struggles of the so-called ‘common man.’ These are among the hallmark elements of Italian neorealism—a body of films that emerged out of the literal and figural rubble of fascism and World War II, and gave a nation recovering from a bombastic dictatorship a humble new self-image. Few national film movements have been as revered, mythologized, and seemingly self-evident as neorealism. And yet, since its inception, its very status—as a tradition, a school, a genre, and/or as a distinctively Italian set of films—has been fiercely contested. This course explores neorealism itself as a site of numerous transnational transactions, from its origins—in dialogue with Soviet realism and 'escapist' Hollywood—to its resonance in China, Senegal, Colombia, India, and beyond. Students will examine selections from the neorealist 'canon' (films by Rossellini, De Sica, and Visconti), along with a selection of their global intertexts (films may include: Pather Panchali, 1955, dir. Satyajit Ray; Black Girl, 1966, dir. Ousmane Sembène; Still Life, 2006, dir. Jia Zhangke; Wendy and Lucy, 2008, dir. Kelly Reichardt). English-Film Studies