Throughout large sense of realism. An example of

Throughout this essay I
will be comparing and contrasting two film movements. The movements that will
be being used are Italian Neorealism and Film Noir. I will be structuring this
essay firstly by introducing Italian Neorealism, explaining what it is and
providing some examples. I will then go on to do the same for Film Noir also
talking about some of its history. After that I will continue by beginning to state
the aspects of both Italian Neorealism and Film Noir, then use this to find the
similarities between the two and provide examples. I will then compare the
similarities between them both. After stating a few more of the styles and
techniques of both Italian Neorealism and Film Noir I will find the differences
between them both, giving examples of the differences and comparing them.

Finally, to conclude I will be talking about the importance of both movements
in each of their times.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now


Italian Neorealism, also
known and the ‘Golden Age’, is a
movement in which most agree that the cinematic Neorealism began in 1945, at
the end of WWII and the fall of fascism. Italian neorealism was discovered as
Benito Mussolini’s government fell, thus making the Italian film industry lose
its focus. Neorealism was a sign of cultural change and social progress in
Italy. The films created in this time provided up-to-date stories and ideas and
they were often shot in streets providing the film with a large sense of realism.

An example of early Neorealism is shown in the film ‘Germany, Year Zero’ (1948). The term ‘neorealismo’ was first used by Italian critics in 1920s, in
connection with Soviet literature and cinema. International critical success
encouraged the collectivising of the films into an innovative cultural
movement, however this view was not shared with the filmmakers. The Neorealist
style of film shooting did not involve spending thousands on space, props and
equipment. It had very low production values meaning that footage was always
raw, rough and grainy; shooting on location meant using natural lighting; and
often unlike Hollywood realism, Neorealist directors strived for an absence of
style thus using simplicity in the cinematography, mise-en-scène and editing. ‘Bicycle Thieves’ (1948) was a film
which showed all of these aspects from shooting on location to the simplicity
of cinematography.


Film Noir was first coined
by French critics during the classical period of 1940-1959 (during wartime and
post war). American focus began on the movement in the 1960s. Film Noir has
evolved over time and has been the catalyst for retrospective critical
construction, based on its movement; genre; style; and tone. Many of the
defining features that have usually been found in films are not seen as noirs.

Thus being considered as a canon always under debate. ‘Citizen Kane’ (1940) was a prime example of this movement. The
mise-en-scène within the film noir movement attempts to achieve everything in
shot and normally refers to aspects that are taken from theatre such as; the
setting (including props); lighting; costumes and figures (also known as
actors). It is a movement which heavily influenced the French New Wave and an
example of this is ‘The Third Man’
(1949). It was created towards the end of era of Italian Neorealism and began
to show aspects of something new. This was then developed by the creators of
the French New Wave, thus making it a new era in film. However, Film Noir does
have its similarities to certain era’s within film.


Film Noir in a way is
slightly similar to that of the style of Italian Neorealism and the reason for
this is because Film Noir was the era of film which came directly before Italian
Neorealism, thus meaning that it took aspects of Film Noir and used that to
help create a new wave. One of the similarities between the two include things
such as themes; low production values, meaning the footage was raw and grainy;
using non-professional actors, to save on costs; and the simplicity in both the
cinematography and the editing style. A film that showed some of these
similarities was ‘Kiss Me Deadly’
(1955). Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker), is a private investigator who can be as
ruthless as the criminals he chases. However, Hammer is still your average,
working class citizen. Scenarios which he encounters along the way bring Hammer
to a close to death experience after he picks up a hitchhiker, who escaped from
a mental institution. Christina (Cloris Leachman). Even though the actors in ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ were not
non-professional, all filming was completed on location, consequently following
the same method that the Italian Neorealists provided and also delivering the film
with realism. Another factor was that is pointed out how the working class were
struggling at that time. Similarities between the two also extend to the
characteristics of the films. Expanding
on the similarities between the two, we can see that looking back at Italian
Neorealism it’s foundation has stemmed from that of Film Noir. However, it has
not been seen that some of the similarities between the two have stemmed from
the foundation of Film Noir. The foundation of Film Noir has been heavily
influenced by the French New Wave (Nouvelle Vague) and its film techniques.

Such as its unique methods of expression, using long tracking shots, being
filled with sarcasm and irony, and their tendency to reference other films. The
French New Wave is also the reason that Film Noir and Italian Neorealism
creators used such low budgets for their films. There are many
similarities between the two, however there are also a significant number of
differences associated with between Italian Neorealism and Film Noir.


Italian Neorealism was a film
movement which finally came to an end, however the same cannot be said for Film
Noir. It is a movement whose elements are still being used in today’s film
industry. A prime example of this is the film ‘Memento’ (2002), it takes the audience on a journey, which goes
backwards, of a man fighting amnesia trying to figure out his wife’s murder.

One of the main differences between Film Noir and Italian Neorealism is its
cinematography. Film Noir’s cinematography entails ‘antitraditional’
camerawork, thus making it subjective; it often refrains from using
establishing shots; they use close ups from under the chin with harsh light;
and also high angle long shots rather than smooth tracking. A film that
demonstrates all of these cinematography styles is ‘Double Indemnity’ (1944). In this Film Noir, an insurance salesman
Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) gets involved in a murderous structure when he
falls in love with Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck), who is determined to
kill her husband (Tom Powers). However, with Italian Neorealism’s
cinematography they tend to have low production values. The shots they use tend
to be long shots in both distance and duration; as well as using shots with a
deeper focus, providing a more three-dimensional depiction of space. They try
to establish new conventions of realism. There has always been a significant difference
between the both era’s and there are two films which illustrate the neorealism
vs noir debate and these are Ossessione
(1943) and The Postman Always Rings Twice
(1946). Each of these films compare the differences of the two era’s. Another significant
difference between the two era’s is their visual styles. Film Noir’s tend to be
set at night when it is raining or even outside when there is fog or smoke.

When shooting inside there are shutters and blinds indicating dark corners
inside thus, using claustrophobic framing. However, in the visual style of
Italian Neorealism the location seems to be lit naturally with natural light
coming from either the sun or the moon. The mise-en-scène between both Film Noir and Italian Neorealism are
quite different. Within Film Noir everything that we see in the shot such as
the background /setting; the costumes; the lighting; and the actors tend to
refer to aspects that are taken from theatre. This means that backgrounds and
settings tend to be fake; costumes are specially made; the actors are over
extravagant; and the lighting is unnatural and focus’ on the individual of the


Overall, both Italian
Neorealism and Film Noir both have similarities as well as having their
differences, but what can be said is that both eras of film have left their
mark in the history of film. Even though some may have come to an end just as
the way Italian Neorealism did, others have continued on with their styles to
this day within the film industry.