Posts from 24th May 2011

24
May 11

Film 2Oh!!: Now That’s What I Call Neo-Realism

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21: Germany Year Zero (DVD)

I’m not sure what I expected from Rosselini’s Germany Year Zero. I knew it was a key Italian Neo-Realist film without perhaps knowing what that meant (my neo-realism begins and ends with The Bicycle Thief, and I come to that via the Icicle Thief). I suppose I didn’t expect dubbed Italian dialogue as Edmund slumps through the rather powerful ruins of Berlin. Now I know that Italian films were routinely dubbed, but I supposed that part of the draw of neo-realism was presenting a story in a more raw, documentary style than the forties were used to. Germany Year Zero does this except everyone seems to be speaking with a fruity Italian accent (I don’t speak Italian, but I can tell when its not German). The fact that the actors are all German and are clearly dubbed by others isn’t really the point – and the diagetic sound mix is excellent. But, my years of seeing subtitled films suggest, wouldn’t it have been better in German? Perhaps the most powerful and jarring moment of the film is when a record of one of Hitler’s speeches is played. And that is in German.

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