Journey through
Italian Neorealism

This wide-ranging exploration of the roots, context and legacy of Italian neorealism is the perfect starting point for our two-month long programme. Join season curator Giulia Saccogna together with film critic Christina Newland and academics Professor Richard Dyer and Professor Stephen Gundle for a richly illustrated conversation looking at some of the key figures behind the movement, the newly emerging portrayal of women in Italian cinema in the post-war era, and the stylistic elements and thematic preoccupations that made the movement so influential.

Richard Dyer is Professor Emeritus at King’s College London. His books include Stars, White, Nino Rota and, in the BFI Classics series, Brief Encounter, Se7en and La dolce vita. The Richard Dyer Reader, edited by Glyn Davis and Jaap Kooijman, was published last year.

Stephen Gundle teaches film and television studies at the University of Warwick. He has written widely about Italian cinema and cultural history. Among his books are Bellissima: Feminine Beauty and the Idea of Italy (2007), Mussolini’s Dream Factory: Film Stardom in Fascist Italy (2013) and Fame Amid the Ruins: Italian Film Stardom in the Age of Neorealism (2020). He is currently directing a collaborative research project on the role of women in the Italian film industry between the 1940s and 1980s.

Christina Newland is the lead film critic at the i Newspaper and contributing editor at Empire Magazine, with bylines at BBC, Criterion, Little White Lies, and many others.

(Host) Giulia Saccogna is Programme & Research Coordinator at BFI Southbank and curator of the season ‘Chasing the Real: Italian Neorealism’, running through May and June at BFI Southbank. She previously worked at LFF, BFI Flare and other film festivals in London, as independent curator and in production and distribution of documentaries.

Selected Bibliography

André Bazin, What is Cinema? Vol II. Essays Selected and Translated by Hugh Gray, University of California Press, 1971

Peter Bondanella, Italian Cinema: From Neorealism to the Present, Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd, 1983

Gian Piero Brunetta, Il cinema neorealista italiano, Laterza, 2009

Peter Brunette, Roberto Rossellini, University of California Press, 1987

Vittorio De Sica, La porta del cielo. Memorie 1901-1952, Avagliano, 2004

David Forgacs, Rome Open City, BFI Publishing 2000

David Forgacs and Stephen Gundle, Mass Culture and Italian Society from Fascism to the Cold War, Indiana University Press, 2007

Tag Gallagher, The Adventures of Roberto Rossellini: His Life and Films, Da Capo Press, 1998

Stephen Gundle, Fame Amid the Ruins: Italian Stardom in the Age of Neorealism, Berghahn, 2019

Histories of the Aftermath: The Legacies of the Second World War in Europe, edited by Frank Biess, Robert G. Moeller, Berghahn Books, 2010

Lino Miccichè, Visconti e il neorealismo. Ossessione, La terra trema e Bellissima, Marsilio, 1990

Brunello Rondi, Il neorealismo italiano, Guanda, 1956

Pierre Sorlin, European Cinemas, European Societies 1939 -1990, Routledge, 1991

Pierre Sorlin, Italian National Cinema 1896-1996, Routledge, 1996

Enrica Viganò, Neorealismo: The New Image in Italy 1932-1960, Prestel, 2018

Cesare Zavattini, Sequences from a Cinematic Life, Englewood Cliffs, 1977

Cesare Zavattini, Neorealismo ecc., Bompiani: Milano, 1979

Sat 4 May 20:15; Sun 12 May 17:50
Mon 6 May 15:20; Fri 10 May 20:30; Sun 19 May 15:30; Mon 20 May 12:00; Wed 29 May 12:00
Journey through Italian Neorealism
Tue 7 May 18:10
Four Steps in the Clouds Quattro passi fra le nuvole
Tue 7 May 20:30 (+ intro by season curator Giulia Saccogna); Mon 13 May 18:20
The Children Are Watching Us I bambini ci guardano
Wed 8 May 20:45; Thu 16 May 18:20
Shoeshine Sciuscià
Tue 14 May 18:10 (+ intro by season curator Giulia Saccogna); Tue 21 May 20:45
A Tragic Hunt (aka The Tragic Pursuit) Caccia tragica
Wed 15 May 21:00; Sat 25 May 15:40
The Mill on the Po Il mulino del Po
Thu 16 May 20:40; Sat 25 May 18:20
The Bandit Il bandito
Fri 17 May 20:50; Sun 26 May 18:30
Germany, Year Zero Germania anno zero (aka Deutschland im Jahre Null)
Sun 19 May 18:20; Wed 22 May 12:30; Mon 27 May 15:00; Wed 29 May 20:40
Bicycle Thieves Ladri di biciclette
Sun 19 May 20:20; Mon 27 May 18:00
Bitter Rice Riso amaro
Wed 22 May 20:40; Thu 30 May 18:15
La terra trema
Sun 26 May 15:00; Fri 31 May 20:00
Course: City Lit at the BFI Italian Neorealism – The Cinema of Everyday Life
Wed 8 May – Wed 12 Jun 18:30-20:30

With thanks to
Camilla Cormanni, Paola Ruggiero, Germana Ruscio, Marco Cicala at Cinecittà

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Programme notes and credits compiled by Sight and Sound and the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
Questions/comments? Contact the Programme Notes team by email