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Brutal VisionThe Neorealist Body in Postwar Italian Cinema$
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Karl Schoonover

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816675548

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816675548.001.0001

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An Inevitably Obscene Cinema

An Inevitably Obscene Cinema

Bazin and Neorealism

(p.1) 1 An Inevitably Obscene Cinema
Brutal Vision

Karl Schoonover

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter explores André Bazin’s persistent preoccupation with the corporeal and the inevitable obscenity of the cinematic image to open up the politics of the film image in the postwar period. It argues that Bazin’s work needs the idea of inevitable obscenity both to elaborate the realist ontology of cinema and to make its humanist stakes palpable, material, and measurable. It explains how a fluctuation of presence and absence affects Bazin’s image and characterizes its political aspirations. It also suggests that the current debates encompassing the neo-Bazinian turn both refract and reflect something vital about how realism functions in the 1940s and 1950s, when it becomes a structured approach to changing between absence and presence, distance and proximity, foreignness and intimacy.

Keywords:   André Bazin, obscenity, cinematic image, postwar period, realist ontology, neo-Bazinian turn, realism

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