Picturing Reality in Postwar Italy: The Photography of Mario Giacomelli in Relationship to Italian Neorealist Cinema 1945-1970
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Critical interpretations of the work of Mario Giacomelli often disagree as to whether he should be classified within the style of Italian neorealism. This thesis argues that Giacomelli's photography strikes a balance between realism and abstraction that is best explained as neorealist. Neorealist films such as Rome, Open City (1945) and Bicycle Thieves (1948) sought to capture the social realities of postwar Italy. The realism in these films is complicated however, subjecting postwar social actuality to the artistic initiative of the director. I seek to identify the filmic qualities in Giacomelli's work to clarify a connection to neorealism. Though Giacomelli physically manipulated his images, these manipulations give his images the appearance of a film. To reveal Giacomelli's connection to neorealism, I will investigate the cinematic qualities of mise-en-scene, montage and narrative. This thesis will argue that Giacomelli's photography stems from a cinematic approach that was first developed in neorealism.