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March 2000, Week 1


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 3 Mar 2000 12:28:57 -0500
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I think you answer part of your question by identifying the elements of long takes, wide shots and minimal editing (can also be termed "unobtrusive"). In short, Hollywood cinema is primarily concerned with manipulating the viewer to view scenes in a very particular manner. Editing and close-ups manipulate the pace, focus and reactions of the viewer (the classic example is Hitchcock's Psycho shower scene which utilizes this Hollywood technique to its maximum potential). By keeping editing to a minumum, and the shots wide (and maximizing depth-of-field) the viewer is given greater freedom to watch scenes unfold in "real time" and from a more localized perspective. This is more pseudo-realism (as I prefer to call it) because there is still an artistic choice being made in the framing and editing, but it does create a more documentary feel (contrast the shower scene in Psycho with the shooting of Sport in Taxi Driver -- one long take in wide-shot -- and you still have a dramatic s!
cene but a greater sense of realism). Of course "realism" is never "real" and the cinema equivalent is always evolving. Lately the use of excessive hand-held is more often associated with "realism" than the more static shots that appear in neorealistic films.

Also note that the "neorealistic" movement is not just about the technical, but the content (much like "film noir" is not just about a certain visual style). More specifically, a focus on lower-class life in Italy (after WWII -- the start of neorealistic movement -- the lower-class comprised the bulk of the population).

There much more that can be said of the topic, but you can start by looking for the definition of "neorealism" in your dictionary. From there is all kinds of literature on the subject. The most notable being Italian Cinema: From Neorealism to the Present by Peter Bondanella.



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