In the second half of the week, we shifted our focus to the post-World War II reaction to fascism, exemplified in a cinematic and literary movement known as neorealism. Neorealist directors like Rossellini sought to strip away the artificiality of propagandist films of the previous decades and explore not only the effects of reality – that is to say the subjective range of the actual human experience – but also as a form of activism, exploring the effects of average people upon reality itself. In Rome Open City, Rossellini employed natural lighting, non-professional actors, and on-site filming to let the audience into an intimate day in the life of his characters, many of whom are appropriately based upon real historical figures.

Through articles and class discussion, we were able to characterize Rome Open City as anti-rhetorical, quotidian, and a chronicle, to use the language of Marcus (the author of one of our assigned readings).

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