The war ravaged landscapes of Italy provided the only available backdrop to the new films being produced, since the studios were mostly unavailable for use by filmmakers. Due to the war torn backdrops of these new films, it created the need to film about contemporary realities. The lower budgets, limited resources, and filming on location lead to the gritty reality look of this new film style. Neorealism in film is commonly described and seen as a film that was filmed on a location, rather than in a studio setting only; a film that demonstrates authenticity, and often seen with rejecting classical Hollywood acting styles.
To sum up the generalization of neorealism, it is a realistic representation of life. Roberto Rossellini is credited to making the first neorealism film and the most important neorealism film. His first film was Rome, open city, this is the first neorealism film. It is considered a neorealistic film because of its demonstration of the gritty real life suffering of the Italians during the second World War. Rossellini’s second film was Paisa, this was one of the most important neorealistic films.
It is a neorealism film because its shows six stories through out the second World War with narration providing the setting of the time and place in history. The second most important neorealist filmmaker was Vittorio De Sica. His film Bicycle Thieves is seen as one of the most famous neorealism films. It is a neorealism film because the star was a non-actor. The film was full of real people conveying real life. The film critic Roger Ebert does not consider Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind a neorealism film. Ebert stated that the movie was “... like an endless series of aborted Meet
Cutes. ”. This is a main reason why Ebert says it is not a neorealism film. Traditionally neorealism films avoid using classical Hollywood acting techniques like meet cutes. This film seems to be a series of meet cutes that never quite come to a conclusion. Ebert considers this movie an extreme example of maze cinema. There are different forms of narratives, some of which are the Linear Narrative, Non-Linear Narrative, Maze Cinema, and Hyperlink Cinema. A linear narrative is a story in which it starts at the beginning goes through the middle to the end, in a linear pattern.
Around the World in 80 Days is an example of a linear narrative because of its progression from point A to point B to point C in a linear fashion. A non-linear narrative is when a story is pieced together throughout the movie. This type of film tends to jump from one scene to the next in a non sequential order. Hunt for Red October is a classic example of a non-linear narrative due to its flashbacks and multiple story line progression. A Maze Cinema is a film with multiple interconnecting stories or pathways, creating a maze effect.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is an example of a maze cinema due to its multiple pathways and character stories within the main story itself. A hyperlink cinema is a movie made up of many independent stories that are linked by one small common thread. Crash is an example of a hyperlink cinema because of the idea of the 6 degrees of separation. Linear and non-linear narratives can be grouped in the sense that they are a more traditional approach. Maze and hyperlink cinema take the more creative approach to film making.
Roger Ebert referred to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as a “radical example of Maze Cinema”, because this movie is the epitome of maze cinema. This movie has the many stories woven into one larger overlaying story. Mike LaSalle, from the San Francisco Chronicle, was quoted as saying “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is not about how love conquers all but about how people can be weak and foolish and waste their lives on stupid, destructive relationships. It’s a cold movie about love that was meant to be cold. ” LaSalle’s views tend to be on the opposite scale of the more mainstream opinion.
The majority, according to my research of film critiques, is that most see this film as a romantic movie. These critiques all seem to repeat the same opinion, that love transcends all and conquers all. LaSalle makes the case that this is simply not true. LaSalle strikes hard in his critique by showing the alternative side to the film. He states that it is a “cold” love story in which there is lack of emotion and one feels like the love life is set on repeat. LaSalle sets the stage for our minds to explore the new found view point that this story cleverly outlines the never ending track of repeated mistakes in ones love life.
LaSalle’s opposition takes the hard fast post against the idea that this movie outlines the failure of love due to repeated mistakes. They tend to see it as the stone walls in which a lover must climb in order to find and gain ones true love. Sometimes mistakes are needed to be repeated until you can conquer them. LaSalle challenges this by giving us his critique in such a manner as to eloquently dispute the claim of his opponents.
Ebert, Roger. (2004). Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
LaSalle, Mick. (2004). San Francisco Chronicle.