Suggested Viewing

No guarantees, but I believe each of these films is available from at least one of Austin's finer video rental stores.

The Essential Neorealism

Open City (1945, Roberto Rossellini) A communist, a prostitute, and a Catholic priest walk into a war...

Paisan (1946, Rossellini) Fellini co-scripted this rather quaint episodic film: six vignettes about life in wartime Italy. One stars Giulietta Masina.Shoeshine (1946, Vittorio De Sica) Two shoeshine boys get sucked into the black market and betrayal.La Terra Trema (1947, Luchino Visconti) Lyrical interpretation of Verga's Marxist tale of Sicilian anchovy fishermen crushed under the heel of the property owners.

Without Pity (1948, Alberto Lattuada) Romance between a black GI and an Italian prostitute can't end well. Co-scripted by Fellini, with Masina.

Bicycle Thieves (1949, Vittorio De Sica) The archetypal neorealism and an icon of world cinema. I prefer the Italian title (plural).

Variety Lights (1950, Federico Fellini/Alberto Lattuada) Charming road movie about a wandering musical troupe. Bridges neorealism and Felliniesque fantasy.

Miracle in Milan (1951, Vittorio De Sica) Toto the Good makes the slums a happy place, and when things go bad, he takes all the poor people up to heaven. A very bitter fairy tale.

Umberto D. (1952, Vittorio De Sica) Dignified pensioner -- and his dog -- are forced out of their home. Where's Toto the Good when you really need him? This is said to be De Sica's own favorite among his films.

I Vitelloni (1953, Federico Fellini) Literally, the big, fat veals: Fellini's reminiscence of wasted days among the street gangs. If you like Accatone...

Senso (1954, Luchino Visconti) Wartime romance between Austrian officer Farley Granger and Alida Valli. Visconti's first color film.

La Strada (1954, Federico Fellini) Anthony Quinn (?!) is brilliant as a Frankensteinish circus strongman, on the road with Giulietta Masina.

And Two Precursors:

Ossessione (1942, Luchino Visconti) The director's first film, adapted from James Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice, enraged fascist censors and inspired the term neorealism, coined by writers at the Centro Sperimentale.

The Children Are Watching Us (1943, Vittorio De Sica) This tearjerker about a young orphan's fall into institutionalization was the first in a lifelong collaboration between former matinee idol De Sica and brilliant screenwriter Cesare Zavattini.

Also in the Sixties:

La Dolce Vita (1960, Federico Fellini)

The Colossus of Rhodes (1960, Sergio Leone)

Hercules in the Haunted World (1961, Mario Bava, starring Christopher Lee)

Black Sunday (1961, Mario Bava, starring Barbara Steele)

Divorce -- Italian Style (1961, Pietro Germi)

Black Sabbath (1963, Mario Bava, starring Boris Karloff)

A Fistful of Dollars (1964, Sergio Leone)

Before the Revolution (1964, Bernardo Bertolucci)

Marriage Italian-Style (1964, Vittorio De Sica)

The Battle of Algiers (1965, Gillo Pontecorvo)

The Tenth Victim (1965, Elio Petri)

Fists in the Pocket (1966, Marco Bellochio)

After the Fox (1966, Vittorio De Sica)

The Rise of Louis XIV (1966, Roberto Rossellini)

The Taming of the Shrew (1967, Franco Zeffirelli)

China Is Near (1968, Marco Bellochio)

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968, Sergio Leone)

The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (1969, Dario Argento)

Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970, Elio Petri)

They Call Me Trinity (1971, Enzo Barboni, aka E.B. Clucher)

Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971, Mario Bava)

If You Liked These ...

Recommended films by the directors in "Che Bella"

The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1966, Pier Paolo Pasolini)

Teorema (1968, Pier Paolo Pasolini)

The Decameron (1970, Pier Paolo Pasolini)

Salo, or The 120 Days of Sodom (1975, Pier Paolo Pasolini)

The White Sheik (1951, Federico Fellini)

Fellini Satyricon (1970, Federico Fellini)

The Clowns (1971, Federico Fellini)

Fellini's Roma (1972, Federico Fellini)

Ginger and Fred (1986, Federico Fellini)

L'Avventura (1960, Michelangelo Antonioni)

The Eclipse/L'Eclisse (1962, Michelangelo Antonioni)

The Leopard (1963, Luchino Visconti)

The Stranger (1967, Luchino Visconti)

The Damned (1969, Luchino Visconti)

Ludwig (1973, Luchino Visconti)

The Spider's Stratagem (1970, Bernardo Bertolucci)

Neorealism in the Rear View Mirror

Confessions of a Police Captain (1971, Damiano Damiani)

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1971, Vittorio De Sica)

The Seduction of Mimi (1972, Lina Wertmuller)

The Grande Bouffe (1973, Marco Ferreri)

The Night Porter (1974, Liliana Cavani)

We All Loved Each Other So Much (1974, Ettore Scola)

Allegro Non Troppo (1976, Bruno Bozzetti)

1900 (1977, Bernardo Bertolucci)

Bread and Chocolate (1978, Franco Brusati)

The Night of the Shooting Stars (1982, Taviani brothers)

Once Upon a Time in America (1984, Sergio Leone)

The Family (1987, Ettore Scola)

Cinema Paradiso (1988, Giuseppe Tornatore)

The Icicle Thief (1989, Maurizio Nichetti)

Others I'd Love to Include, But That Don't Fit a Category

Duck, You Sucker/Fistful of Dynamite (1972, Sergio Leone)

My Name Is Nobody (1974, Tonino Valerii)

Suspiria (1977, Dario Argento)

  • More of the Story

  • Che Bella

    The Austin Film Society's series is called "Che Bella: Italy in the 60s," but the story really begins -- as does all of modern cinema -- in the streets of Rome, in May of 1944. Nick Barbaro looks at Italian neorealism and the movies it inspired.
  • The Schedule

    A History of Collaboration

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Nick Barbaro
Soccer Watch: More Players for Austin FC
Soccer Watch: More Players for Austin FC

March 5, 2021

Public Notice: Taking a Mulligan?
Public Notice: Taking a Mulligan?
Hancock Golf Course/Park plans seem to be off the boil

March 5, 2021

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle