world cinemas 2

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Directed Essay I: World Cinemas Winter 2018-19

Film Analysis: “Neo-neorealism” in Contemporary American Cinema

In 2009, New York Timesfilm critic, A.O. Scott, wrote a much-discussed article in which he argued that the work of a number of contemporary indie filmmakers constituted a new film movement in American Cinema – what he dubbed, “Neo-neorealism.”

For this 3-4 pageessay, read Scott’s article, and then watch

Ramin Bahrani

  • Goodbye Solo(2008)

Watch the film closely, then write an essay that answers the following prompt:

How has Italian Neorealism influenced the work of contemporary American filmmakers? Why do you think some filmmakers have returned to the neorealist impulse now?

To respond to the prompt, your essay will need to attend to the following questions:

  • How does Scott define “neo-neorealism”?
  • How does his definition compare to the definition of Italian Neorealism as it was espoused by filmmakers like Cesare Zavattini?
  • How well does your chosen film fit into Scott’s definition?
  • How does it compare to classic neorealist films, like Bicycle Thieves?

Essays will be graded on:

  • The presence of a clearly defined, debatable thesis that addresses the essay prompt
  • Understanding of the Scott article
  • Understanding of neorealism as a cinematic movement
  • Attention to detail (in terms of providing specific, illustrative examples from the film and class readings to support your claims)
  • The overall quality of the analysis
  • Command of the standard rules of writing.

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