Saturday, 27 July 2013

Characteristic of Italian Neo Realism - Bicycle Thieves 1948 as the example

In the film of Bicycle Thieves 1948, it has strong characteristics of Italian Neo Realism. This is because we are looking from the aspect on mise-en-scene that proposed by Rick Altman. Through mise-en-scene, we are looking on the setting of the film, and it shows that the shooting location in this film is on the post war ruins situation. This characteristic shows in the scene when Ricci gets his job and then on the way he runs back to his house, obviously you can see those building are new built and there are some shot shows the mixture of architecture. For example, Ricci’s apartment, the place that he lives is just build by the authority and when he is on the way to go back to his house, the road that he passed by was undeveloped. In addition, there is also no water supply in their house. This scene was explained by his wife where she has to carry the water from other place. This show that, the shooting location is on post war situation, meaning that, after World War II, the background of the shooting location is form by a lot of new and undeveloped buildings.

People are lining up for water.

One of the location of undeveloped building.

In the mise-en-shot aspects, basically is referring to the shooting angle in Bicycle Thieves 1948, the tight shots taken all the part when Ricci is in the house. The space in the house was tight. Besides that, there is actually has only limited space for the thieves to lives. For example, they don’t have a kitchen which is separate with the rooms and the living room. They only have a room, which is just enough to fix the bed and limited space for them to move. Besides that, we can see there are no long shot especially in the scene about the argument among Ricci and the thieve in the thieve house. 

Antonio Ricci's house, narrow hallway.

The thieves' house.

The thieves' house where we can easily see all the space available

In Bicycle Thieves 1948 there are a lot of medium shot in the whole film. The environment of the houses and the building was built in a very pack form. The back street within the building was narrow to shows that actually in the Italian Neo Realism film, there have only limited space to shoot every scene.  
In Bicycle Thieves 1948 the director used grainy stock to perform it as an Italian Neo Realism film. The resolution that used in this film was not pure black and white. A lot of scene that being used in this film look gritty is to enhances the aesthetic of neo realism. It is a characteristic of Italian Neo Realism. Besides, the imperfection of grainy stock in this film is to enhance the people’s life were not perfect after the war. For example, everyone in the film was suffered from the poverty and jobless people are everywhere. Italian Neo Realism is to emphasize the real life of the people after the war. The economy was slow and down, poor people remain poor, and rich people remain rich which you can see from the scene when Ricci and his son dining in the restaurant. Other than that, the customers in the restaurant are dresses in a proper way which shows that they are afford to go to the restaurant, dining at the high class restaurant during post war era.        

Customers that dresses in a proper way, dining at the high class restaurant.

Besides that, one of the characteristic of Italian Neorealism is socially conscious and humanistic point of view (POV). Social consciousness is to be defined as social awareness been face by the society .In the movie Bicycle Thieves (1948), we can see that the director focus on societal issues such as poverty. The movie is direct at 1948 during post-World War II Rome where societies are having difficulties in searching for jobs and supporting their life. At the beginning of the movie, a group of men stand around waiting for jobs. When Antonio Ricci lost his bicycle on the first day of his work, another man quickly took his place. People during that time are desperately finding for jobs because they need to earn money in order for their living, plus there not many jobs available during that time. Additionally, there is also a scene showing many people were at the pawn shop trying to sell their belongings in exchange for money. 

Situation in the pawn shop; people are pawning nearly everything.

The director evokes the audience sympathy towards the character Antonio Ricci and his son Bruno. When his bicycle has been stolen and his determination in getting back his bicycle, audiences is sympathy towards them throughout the whole process. Furthermore, the movie also presents melodramatic aspect whereby the movie is dramatic sad. The whole process of the movie involve tension and desperation growing as chances for recovering the bicycle, and with it, their dashed hopes, fade the grainy stock, background music and soundtrack will affect your mood in watching the movie. The film has a grainy that will affect the audience mood. There is one scene where Antonio Ricci lost his bicycle and starting to search along the road, the music make the audience feel sad with him when he lost his bicycle. Moreover, the last scene where Antonio and Bruno walk slowly off amid a buffeting crowd, Bruno hands his father the hat, crying as Antonio stares dazedly ahead. That music and scene really successfully make the audiences feel touch toward them.

The ending part where Antonio and Bruno Ricci held hands tightly with grainy effects to affect the audience mood.

In Bicycle Thieves (1948), this film uses a blending form of pathos and comedy. It is acted entirely by nonprofessionals and consists of simple events in the life of a laborer so that direct contact is established with contemporary reality. The purpose of using social actors in Italian Neo-realism is trying to transmit the plot as a fake structure of everyday life. In vise versa, using professional as actors in Italian Neo-realism complimented the falsehood of the delivery of the performance in the film. Besides, the textual instantiations of models of self and others view the social actors as a discourse analytical category in both individual and collective. It shows a new democratic spirit, with emphasis on the value of ordinary people especially in the film where it happened after the incident of WWII.

Tragic failure of the human condition; people are ganging up on one man.

Italy's move from individual concern with Neorealism to the tragic failure of the human condition can be seen through Bicycle Thieves (1948). To struggle against the absence of human solidarity and to against the difference of society towards suffering. They are a word in favor of the poor and unhappy. Italian Neorealism view this as an unconditional importance on the ordinariness of the present of what is happening to the people now or today. It is also to emphasis on emotions rather than abstract ideas where the scenes may seem to unfold in an order void of logic. However, it seems to leave the interior of the characters unrevealed.

The Neo-realism wasn’t reality but it was arguably closer to reality than anything that had come before. The film is reference to national experience which happened after WWII and of the immediately post-war period. The characteristics are shown in a poverty status is to deliver a newsreel look to show the emotion of the character’s situation and point of view during the period. For example, we will feel the same way as when the protagonist’s bicycle has been stolen, and it is more difficult for him to live in this situation. In Bicycle Thieves (1948), it can be observed that normal people living especially those from poor family background are relying in superstitious beliefs, fortune tellers. Besides, the government bureaucracy, the church and political parties, neighborhoods, the family, and soccer have revealed that the living of national experience of the poor ones. With some additions of the religion and culture of the background it has brought up the entire situation of the characters where they are living in poverty. Additionally, in order to earn money, the workers have to own their own bicycle in order to work. It is a painful realization, however, not without its own controversy.

Long queue happened in the house of the fortune teller.

The film offered no slick solutions and so fell between the firing lines of the country's ideological debate so to conservatives it was impermissible to show society's flaws so brazenly and it lacked analysis and a clear agenda for social change.

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