Sunday, 15 May 2011

Week 10: bicycle thieves and being behind

So now im running a week behind. which is great, cause this entry is about neo realism, and if there is a genre which reflects the human condition in greater detail then ill be damned.

Neo Realism and in particular Italian genre films known as Italian neo realism refer to a genre of films that are characterized by:
being about the working class or poor people
set during the 1940s and early 1950s
dealing with post war life
a reflection and reaction against american studio films
an honest and somewhat jarring depiction of life
themes surrounding poverty, moral considerations of post war life and the conditions of the every day human being.
They often used non actors in supporting  role.

The most intriguing part of the idea of 'neo realism' is that of truth and reality in the cinema. Generally if we study history for a moment, realism tends to be reactionary against things like romanticism, rococo, baroque and other opulent movements. As Levin puts it 'Realism is a recurrent response to the conventions and artifices of an earlier style' or, an oscillation between illusion and disillusionment 1

Neo realists called for a cinema of realism. This meant making films free from artifice, inspired by real life subjects. But there was no one agreed upon aesthetic code. unlike the new wave film makers in france, the neo realists are not an aesthetically defined genre, though certainly some aesthetic qualities penetrated the movement. Yet these were based in the aproach to film making (on location, smaller budget ect) rather than an effort to garner that design though artifice.

Neo realism has inextricable ties to the realist movement in literature. The neorealist considers themselves part of the world they records- and that they can change the present to effect the future. 2

By looking at earlier Italian films, from the silent and fascist era we gain a sense of the burgeoning neorealism movement. Visconti's Ossessione (Obsession) based on 'The postman always rings twice' preempted the neorealist themes. The use of the first person subjective character was ignored by Visconti, who opted for a move objective, omniscient camera view. 3

L.A noir comes out this week.
its a noir game for 360 and ps3
I gauge peoples reactions from working in a video game store. It seems aparent that there are two types of people who are excited about this game. Those who can't wait to play a game that claims smart, genre driven savvy narrative and themes taken right out of a brian del pama movie. Or those who are just excited to play another game with guns. I wonder how much will be lost on people who play this game without any prior knowledge of the genre. For example, Mafia 2, a game which I found to be a blatant  copy of DePalmas' 1987 film 'The Untouchables' (Based on memoirs written by Eliot Ness published in 1957)  but others loved being led by the nose down a typical mafia film/ prohibition era film storyline occasionally having to shoot something when prompted.

Rockstar, the games publisher promises something different. They say "Amid the post-war boom of Hollywood's Golden Age, Cole Phelps is an LAPD detective thrown headfirst into a city drowning in its own success. Corruption is rampant, the drug trade is exploding, and murder rates are at an all-time high. In his fight to climb the ranks and do what’s right, Phelps must unravel the truth behind a string of arson attacks, racketeering conspiracies and brutal murders, battling the L.A. underworld and even members of his own department to uncover a secret that could shake the city to its rotten core.
Using groundbreaking new animation technology that captures every nuance of an actor's facial performance in astonishing detail, L.A. Noire is a violent crime thriller that blends breathtaking action with true detective work to deliver an unprecedented interactive experience. Search for clues, chase down suspects and interrogate witnesses as you struggle to find the truth in a city where everyone has something to hide." 

but will it fly with gamers, not a film savvy viewership. I hope so, at 109.95 a pop, this better be good. It was the first game to be selected as part of the Tribecca film festival.

1943, Ossessione, Luchino Visconti

1 Levin, Gates, p. 48
2 Marcus, Italian Flm in the light of Neorealism, introduction, princeton university press
3 Bondanella, Italian Cinema: from neorealism to present. Continuum international publishing group,la-noire-gets-a-nod-from-the-tribeca-film-festival.aspx

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