45-87). This paper discusses Italian neo realism and its portrayal in the movie Rome Open City in a concise and comprehensive way using the sources mentioned in the list of Works Cited.
Adair (pp. 45-87) discusses that the liberalization of the economy and the relaxation of political controls coincided with the Italian entry into the Second World War in June 1940 on the side of Germany. The situation in Italy, by 1940, was one of ideological and political uncertainties, and in part, for these reasons, of artistic possibilities.
Armstrong (pp. 78-99) discusses that De Sica's I bambini ci guardano/The Children Are Watching Us (1942) and Visconti's Ossessione/Obsession (1943), variously regarded as the 'first' neo-realist films, and perhaps, the 'first' anti-fascist ones, were produced by private companies with State subsidies and State approval. And, Rossellini's 'Fascist' war trilogy, made as war propaganda between 1941-1943, was described by him as 'neo-realist', as much neo-realist as his antifascist Roma citta aperta/Rome Open City (1945). If the issue was ideology or economy, the Fascist Party or the interests of industry, it was the latter not the former that prevailed (Armstrong, pp. 78-99).
By 1943, Fascism was no longer supported by Italian capitalism. On the contrary, it was pushed aside. Fascism had become a danger. It was no longer a protection against social disorder, but the cause of disorder, no longer an instrument for economic development, but a hindrance to development. The class that had helped brings Fascism into being, now acted to eliminate it. Mussolini was overthrown by a coup within the Fascist leadership encouraged by conditions created by the Allied military advance, and not by the 'people' (Armstrong, pp. 78-99). He was replaced by an officer in the Fascist High Command, Marshal Badoglio.
The dates of Italian neo-realist cinema roughly correspond to the fall of Fascism in 1943 up until the consolidation of the first postwar Italian government under the Christian Democrats (Dc) around 1951 [the Dc came to power in 1948]. But the features of Italian neo-realism are not at all clear (Armstrong, pp. 78-99).
Neo-realism was a tendency more than it was a definite aesthetic. Some films were more neo-realist than others. None were ever purely neo-realist. Neo-realism was an ideal toward which certain films approached in varying degrees of closeness. What is most important is to indicate the conditions that made neorealist cinema possible, then impossible, rather than to attempt to define it.
The dominant cinema in Italy in the 1930s--the cinema associated with Fascism--was a commercial genre cinema. Most films screened in Italy came from America, nearly 80 per cent; most Italian films were modeled on American ones. It was logical that Italian films took American ones as their model. The Italian industry, with help from the Fascist State, sought to reconstruct itself and prosper (Munsterberg, pp. 673-76).