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Italian Academy Celebrates the Rise and Fall of Neorealism in Italian Cinema

The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America will host "The Rise and Fall of Italian Neorealism" film festival beginning on Thursday, February 7, at the Italian Academy, 1161 Amsterdam Avenue.

The festival features works by directors who were among the great neorealists, leaders in the movement characterized by the simple, direct depiction of lower class life. In addition to film screenings, the festival will also include noted guest speakers. The list is as follows:

  • Ossessione, 1942, directed by Luchino Visconti, Thursday, February 7, at 8:00 p.m., with guest speaker Kent Jones
  • Roma Citta Aperta, 1945, directed by Roberto Rossellini, Wednesday, February 13, at 8:00 p.m., with guest speaker Ingrid Rossellini
  • Ladri di Biciclette, 1948, directed by Vittorio DeSica, Thursday, February 28, at 8:00 p.m., with guest speaker Nelson Moe
  • Riso Amaro, 1948, directed by Giuseppe DeSantis, Wednesday, March 13, at 8:00 p.m. with guest speaker Richard Peña
  • Umberto D, 1952, directed by Vittorio DeSica, Thursday, March 28, at 8:00 p.m., with guest speaker Flora Ghezzo
  • La Strada, 1954, directed by Federico Fellini, Thursday, April 18, at 8:00 p.m., with guest speaker Peter Haratonik

Ossessione (Obsession), directed by Luchino Visconti, is the harbinger of neorealism, a story of fascist repression.

Guest speaker Kent Jones is the associate director of programming at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and member of the New York Film Festival selection committee. He is the editor-at-large and frequent contributor to Film Comment and Artforum. Among other publications, Jones is the New York correspondent for Cahiers du Cinéma; author of the Monograph l'argent and two upcoming books on Hou Hsiao-Hsien and André Téchiné, and co-author of Martin Scorsese's "il Mio Viaggio in Italia."

Roma Citta Aperta (Open City), directed by Roberto Rossellini, represents the birth of neorealism: a study and placing of the resistance movement and the war.

Guest Speaker Ingrid Rossellini was raised in Italy and immersed in the movie world of her father, Roberto. She obtained her BS, MA and Ph.D. in Italian Literature from Columbia. She taught Italian literature at SUNY Stony Brook and World War II Italian cinema at Princeton University. Rossellini is currently teaching literature of social reflection at Harvard University.

Ladri di Biciclette (Bicycle Thieves), directed by Vittorio DeSica, depicts a meditation of the human condition.

Guest speaker Nelson Moe is an associate professor of Italian at Barnard College. He has written on various aspects of 19th and 20th century Italian culture. Moe was received the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione publication award for a manuscript in Italian literary studies by the Modern Language Association with his forthcoming publication "The View from Vesuvius: Italian Culture and the Southern Question."

Riso Amaro (Bitter Rice), directed by Giuseppe DeSantis, is a social critique focused on sex and violence.

Guest speaker Richard Peña is the program director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, director of the New York Film Festival and associate film professor at Columbia, specializing in film theory and international cinema. Together with Unifrance Film, Peña has organized the annual Rendez-vous with French Cinema Today program since 1996. He hosts the monthly program Conversations in World Cinema for the Sundance channel.

Umberto D, directed by Vittorio DeSica, marks the end of unadorned neorealism.

Guest speaker Flora Ghezzo is a post-doctoral fellow in the Italian department at Columbia and teaches courses on 19th and 20th century Italian literature. Ghezzo received her "laurea" from Universita' di Venezia, Italy, and her Ph.D. from Rutgers University. She is currently co-editing a collection of essays on distinguished Italian writer Anna Maria Ortese and working on a book-length study on gender and self-representation in women's literature under fascism.

La Strada (The Road), directed by Federico Fellini, looks beyond neorealism.

Guest speaker Peter L. Haratonik is the co-founder, former director and member of the core faculty, graduate media studies program at New School University. He became intimately involved with Fellini and his opus while working with John Culkin, founder of the Center for Understanding Media, the parent of the media studies program. Fellini is currently working on a study of the politics of award-winning director Bertolucci's cinema and a course in co-operation with the Toscana photographic workshops in Buonconvento, Italy.

Published: Feb 07, 2002
Last modified:Sep 18, 2002

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