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Screening ModernismEuropean Art Cinema, 1950–1980$
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András Bálint Kovács

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226451633

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226451664.001.0001

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An Alternative to the Classical Form: Neorealism and Modernism

An Alternative to the Classical Form: Neorealism and Modernism

(p.253) :15: An Alternative to the Classical Form: Neorealism and Modernism
Screening Modernism

András Bálint Kovács

University of Chicago Press

If film noir can be regarded as a deviation from the classical narrative, Italian neorealism offered other elements for a real alternative to it. Italian neorealism was a complex cultural phenomenon in postwar Italy integrating literature, journalism, and cinema. One of neorealism's main contributions to modernism was its suppression of the hierarchy between the narrative background and the narrative foreground, which thereby loosened up the narrative structure. There are two essential traits of neorealism that make it an antecedent to, rather than a part of, modernism. One is its fundamental social, sometimes clearly political, commitment; modernism instead focuses on abstract, universalistic concerns. The other trait is neorealism's total lack of subjectivity and reflexivity, both of which belong to modernism's major aesthetic strategies. This chapter, which examines neorealism and modernism in modern cinema, looks at modernism in Michelangelo Antonioni's Story of a Love Affair (1950) as well as neorealism in Roberto Rossellini's films.

Keywords:   neorealism, modernism, film noir, literature, journalism, modern cinema, Michelangelo Antonioni, Love Affair, Roberto Rossellini, Italy

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