De Sica’s Bodies and Charity’s Gaze
This chapter examines three films from the Vittorio De Sica-Cesare Zavattini collaboration, namely, Shoeshine, Bicycle Thieves, and The Roof, and how each posits spectacle as a realist cinematic device capable of triggering and nourishing a charitable gaze in line with the nascent institutional practices of global humanism. It argues that De Sica’s neorealism develops specific narrational procedures aimed at fostering a gaze of globalized concern. The films also align themselves with a gaze that anticipates the subjective structures necessary for large-scale international aid projects rather than endorsing regional or statist forms of assistance, dismissing these latter as corrupt, condescending, and ineffectual.
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