The Critically And Financially Successful Neorealist Film History Essay

The films involved in this essay tell us two different narratives during the War. Yet, they portion one thing in common: they both happened in Italy.

Roma, citta aperta means “ Rome, unfastened metropolis ” . This movie was directed by Roberto Rossellini. The image features Aldo Fabrizi, Anna Magnani and Marcello Pagliero. It is set in Rome during the Nazi business period. The movie won several awards at different movie festivals and was besides nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

La vita e bella means “ life is beautiful ” . The movie was directed by Roberto Benigni, who was besides the histrion of the hero, Guido Orefice, a Judaic Italian. It is set in the clip of WWII and tells the narrative that lasts for several old ages. The movie was cast at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, and went on to win the Grand Prize ( ) . At the 71st Academy Awards, the movie won awards for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score, and Best Foreign Language Film. Benigni won Best Actor for his function as the good story male parent. The movie besides received Academy Award nominations for Directing, Film Editing, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture ( The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ) .

First of all, some background information about WWII will be introduced ; the portion for Italy will be emphasized. The chief portion will reason on the representation of the period of clip in WWII in both films so contrast the difference in the ways of the representation. The essay will turn out that the narrative in Roma, citta aperta took topographic point in the twelvemonth 1944 while the narrative in La vita e bella took topographic point during the old ages of 1939-1945. The contrast of the two movies argues that Roma, citta aperta is a film that is realistic while La vita e bella tell the narrative in a tragedy-comic manner. Some extra idea will be cast on the representation of history at the terminal of the article.

Background and back uping facts

This portion chiefly introduces some background information of WWII.

Although the Empire of Japan which was one Fascism state at that clip, was already at war with the Republic of China in 1937, ( David P, Barrett. & A ; Lawrence N Shyu, 2001, p.6. ) the War is by and large said to hold begun on 1A September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany, and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and most of the states of the British Empire and Commonwealth.

Acutually, historiographers have different points of position towards the get downing day of the month of the war. Other day of the months for the beginning of war include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7A July 1937. ( Roger Chickering, 2006, P. 64. ) Sometimes the starting point is said to be the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935 ( Hevrah Mizrahit Yisreelit,1965, P. 91. ) . British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of the Second World War as the Nipponese invasion of Manchuria in August 1939 ( Antony Beevor, 2012, p. 10 ) .

The exact day of the month of the war ‘s terminal is besides non universally agreed upon. It has been suggested that the war ended at the cease-fire of 14A August 1945, instead than the formal resignation of Japan ( 2A September 1945 ) ; However, in some European histories, it is said to be ended on 8A May 1945.

For the intent of statement, it is best that the history of WWII refering the fact of Italy be introduced in this portion. The combatants were fundamentally divided into two sides: Allies and Axis. The Axis comprised chiefly of three states: Germany, Japan, and Italy. In WWII, Kingdom of Italy was allied with Axis states during 1940-1943. At that clip, Italy was controlled chiefly by National Fascist Party regulation from 1922 to 1943 with Benito Mussolini as totalitarian leader. The fascists imposed totalitarian regulation and crushed the political and rational resistance.

“ The Fascist government passed through several comparatively distinguishable stages, ” says Payne. The first stage 1923-25 was nominally a continuance of the parliamentary system, albeit with a “ lawfully organized executive absolutism. ” Then came the 2nd stage, “ the building of the Fascist absolutism from 1925 to 1929. ” The 3rd stage was 1929-34. The 4th stage, 1935-40, was characterized by an aggressive foreign policy, the invasion in Ethiopia, confrontations with the League of Nations countenances, turning economic autarky, and semi-Nazification. The war itself ( 1940-43 ) was really the 5th stage, and the concluding phase was the Salo government ( 1943-45 ) ( Stanley G. Payne, 1996, p.212 ) .

The resignation of Kingdom of Italy in 1943 took topographic point, after which the Nazi Germany invaded and controlled the northern and cardinal Italy. The metropolis of Rome was taken over by Germany army.This is closely related to the narrative in Roma, citta aperta.

Another of import set of events that is related to the narrative of La vita e bella is the Holocaust.The Holocaust was the race murder of about six million European Jews during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored slaying by Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler, throughout Nazi-occupied district ( Donald L Niewyk, 2000, p.45 ) . Extinction cantonments ( or decease cantonments ) were built to consistently kill 1000000s of victims chiefly comprised of Jews by gassing and utmost work under famishment conditions. This race murder of the Judaic people was the Third Reich ‘s “ Final Solution to the Judaic inquiry ” . ( Francois Furet,1989, p.182 )

Arguments on the representation

Given the background introduced above, we can discourse the representation of period of WWII in the two films.

Analysis of representation

At the beginning of the film Roma, citta aperta, the captions tell us about the beginning of the narrative: the tragic but traveling narrative that happened during nine months of Nazi Germany ‘s business of Italy in 1943. The narrative begins with the hunt for a hero named Giorgio Manfredi who was the caput of the opposition force. The hunt by the Gestapo was in vain.

After that the scene moves to an office of a German Gestapo. It should be noted that in this scene, there is a adult male who speaks German while the two work forces in the room are speaking in Italian. This reflects the world at that clip — -the metropolis was controlled by both Italian and German governments, i.e. it was unfastened to foreign encroachers.

Other inside informations in the movie besides reflect the world. For illustration, this scene is straight shot in the existent topographic point. Similar scenes include the street and the old houses made of bricks. The accent on the inside informations is the of import characteristic of the movie.

The narrative line goes to a tragic portion as the hero Giorgio and the priest Don Peitro who helped him were both captured by the Gestapo. Gestapo tried to utilize Pietro ‘s spiritual beliefs to convert him to bewray his cause, Pietro answered that those who strive to assist others is on the way of God regardless of their beliefs. They forced Pietro to watch Giorgio being tortured to decease. When Don Pietro still refuses to state Gastapo any utile information, he was executed.

The decease of the heroes and many other secret plans in this film are depicted in a close-to-real manner. The intent of this attack was to state the truth of people ‘s enduring under the force per unit area of Nazi Germany with a really existent sense. It looks like portion of the existent history although the narrative and characters are claimed to be unreal.

In the film of La vita e bella, foremost of all we know that it ‘s the twelvemonth 1939 and the location is Arezzo, in the cardinal portion of Italy. The narrative begins with a sense of wit in that the brake ca n’t work and the auto dramatically drove through a welcoming crowd which was meant to welcome the King of Italy. We can happen that people in the crowd give a Roman salutation ( the gesture adopted by Fascists to show their committedness to the Party and regard for the caput of the Party ) . This sends a signal that Italy was loosely influenced by Fascism.

Another of import scene in the film takes topographic point in a school where the Judaic hero Guido pretends to be the inspector from Rome. In the class of the alleged instruction about the high quality of German races, Guido makes some eldritch gags. This is irony of the racism point of position propagandized by Facists. However, this reflects the societal world at that clip.

At the nuptials, there comes an interesting scene: the presentation of Ethiopian bar. Carried by four Ethiopian servers, the elephantine bar with an unreal pick ostrich on it was presented to the invitees. We should observe that the colourss of plumes of the tail of the ostrich and those above the servers ‘ chapeaus reflect the fact that Ethiopian was invaded occupied by Italy since white, ruddy and green are the colourss on Italy ‘s national flag.

Several old ages after the hero and heroine were married ; they had a kid called Giosue . Before long, the book shop of Guido was shut down due to the racism. Soon after that the Nazi came to capture Guido and his boy since they are Judaic people.

From this scene, we can happen that the Nazi ground forces has really occupied Rome, bespeaking that this twelvemonth is at least 1943.In the scene shown below, the mark reads “ No Jewish and Canis familiariss allowed ” , reflecting the broad spread anti-Jew ambiance in Italy.

Subsequently in the narrative, Guido and his boy had to populate in the extinction cantonment. The environment was tough but Guido did non desire to destroy his boy ‘s immature head so he told him a prevarication about a game, which may win his boy a existent armored combat vehicle if they win in the game.

At the terminal of the narrative, Guido was killed by a soldier in the cantonment while his boy escaped after concealing for the whole dark. In the forenoon, a amusing and animating piece of intelligence came: the Allies reached the cantonment. Giosue saw a existent armored combat vehicle as he had wished. It should be the twelvemonth of 1945 since in that twelvemonth the Allies pushed frontward in Italy.

Contrast of the Representation

Albeit the film tells two different narratives that happened in Italy, the attacks in representation are rather different. The chief differences between the attacks of representation prevarication in two facets. The first 1 is the manner of stating the narrative. The 2nd is the constellation of secret plans.

The manner of the film Roma, citta aperta is called neorealism. It uses existent topographic points for some of the cinematography. The action by the characters and the scene of apparels of characters are near to existent. The inside informations of life of people reflect straight the true state of affairs they were confronting so that the documental manner presents the truth of enduring at that clip. This is contrary to the Hollywood films which were dramatic and idealistic at that clip. In La vita e bella, the full narrative is fundamentally set in a comparatively easy and entertaining atmosphere. The sense of wit is loosely dispersed throughout the secret plans. Although it employs some realistic manner in stand foring the historical environment environing the chief heroes and heroines, it chiefly looks like a light fairy narrative. The lone tragic secret plans are presented near the terminal of the narrative where Guido was killed ( it was even non straight depicted to the audience ) . However, the nerve-racking and uneasy ambiance was presented to the audience in Roma, citta aperta throughout the film.

The agreement of secret plans was besides really different. The narrative of Roma, citta aperta is chiefly about the heroic opposition motion against the fascism while the narrative of La vita e bella dressed ores on a group of little characters that lived in the epoch of WWII. The former terminals in a entire unhappiness while the latter generates a sense of hope and commiseration.

While they portion the two differences in the manner of stating the narrative and the agreement of secret plans, the two films have a batch in common. They are both directed by Italians and stand for the same spirit which is anti-fascism. Roma, citta aperta attempts to promote people to contend against fascism in the tragic destiny of heroes, being unable to state people how to contend. La vita e bella tells a sad narrative of a Jew reflecting the societal world of Holocaust and racism, the badly committed offense by fascism, while entertaining the audience with a good sense of wit. They both remind people of the truth of history in that really epoch.


As the statement above proves, the representation of historical periods in the two films is in different manners while they have some characteristics in common. The decision is that the first film mentioned, Roma, citta aperta, tells us a narrative in 1943 during the Nazi Germany business in Italy while the 2nd film, La vita e bella, portions a narrative of a normal Judaic cat and his boy in the Holocaust in Italy during WWII ; The former one employs more realistic attack in the representation, a manner which is called neorealism while the latter uses a good sense of wit in stating the narrative that is less realistic and more dramatic with some parts being declarative mood of the historical periods.

“ It is with Rossellini ‘s Roma, citta aperta that we find the first and merely critically and financially successful neorealist movie. “ ( Ben Lawton, 1979, pp 8-23 ) The film itself is a good illustration of neorealism.

While the moving ridge of neorealism faded bit by bit a few old ages after the film was made, the documental attack used in it was employed more frequently in some historical films.

The best illustration in recent old ages might be the Oscar-winning movie Schindler ‘s List directed by Steven Spielberg, the narrative about a Nazi party member and merchandiser Schindler who protected 1,100 Jews from the Holocaust. This film can be deemed as neorealism manner film to some extent. In this film, the narrative in the chief organic structure was depicted in black and white to make a nerve-racking and suffering ambiance to the audience. The documental attack employed is equal and impressive. One can see from the scenes the existent wretchedness of Judaic people in the particular historical epoch. The film is classical in about every regard: its narrative, its background music, its histrions and actresses, its technique of shooting. Schindler ‘s List is unprecedented yet profoundly rooted in neorealism. In contrast, the film La vita e bella is non truly a great film, but is besides an first-class work of art.