“Visconti without neorealism is like Lang without expressionism and Eisenstein without formalism”.
Three movie directors, with labels, right?
- Neorealism is often sticked to “Italian” : “a film movement characterized by stories set amongst the poor and the working class, filmed on location, frequently using non-professional actors.”
- Expressionism? : “a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas.”
- Formalism? “if actions and dialogue are important for filmic meaning, the filmic mode (camera angles, editing, cinematography) itself is just as responsible for meaning.”
Movies todays have swallowed and more or less digested all of these.
Labels, right? Stickers. They are always interesting. You can pick one and study the sources, the influences, the evolutions (in the director’s career/in history), the exaggerations, the failures too…
A pleasant exercise is to find the other directors one put in the box (who are formalists, after Eisenstein? Hitchcock and De Palma? And today?).
Another one is to find the other words linked to it. Formalism gives : audience manipulation, for example.
You can also determine where is formalism applied. Montage? Filming? Story’s structure?
How is this useful? For the pleasure of analysis and sorting? Or to apply it elsewhere? Poetry? Photography?
What about my article’s title? What is Visconti without Neo-Realism? An evolution? A loss? A change?
In the end, what about us? What about you? If you create something, what’s the label? Why is it irritating? Or not?
Thanks for reading!