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Course Description

World War II left Italy in ruins and in socio-political turmoil. Unemployment, hunger, poverty, depression, and desperation were rampant. Destitute adventurers roamed the city streets trying to invent anything to stay alive just one more day. In spite of this desperate scenario, we find that art still moved well. The Neorealist movement began at the end of World War II, and it was a response as well as a denunciation of awful life conditions. Directors such as Vittorio De Sica, Roberto Rossellini, and Luchino Visconti shared the idea of taking these stories and portraits of common people and turned them into eternal masterpieces. These were characterized by small budgets, a realist aesthetic, outdoor shoots, and nonprofessional actors. The best-known example is Bicycle Thieves (1948), by De Sica, a masterful work of touching humanity that opened the eyes and the attention of the world to this phenomenon. Our focus will be on the works of these great directors and the meanings they sought out to extract, and not just to revel in easy tear jerkers, but rather to provide moving stories anyone could easily identify with.
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