Poetic Realism (1930s)

Poetic Realism emerged in French cinema, focusing on portraying everyday life with a touch of romanticism, offering a poetic and lyrical approach to storytelling. It challenged the traditional glamorous portrayal of characters in mainstream cinema and instead emphasized portraying the struggles and joys of ordinary people. This approach of exploring the lives of everyday individuals and their hardships has influenced contemporary filmmakers who strive to tell stories that are authentic and relatable.

The impact of poetic realism extends beyond French cinema, inspiring filmmakers from various countries to incorporate its stylistic elements and thematic concerns into their work. It has encouraged filmmakers to reflect the realities of life, address social issues, and engage audiences on a deeper emotional level, thereby enriching the cinematic landscape.

Furthermore, poetic realism’s visual and atmospheric style, with its use of lighting, cinematography, and mise-en-scène, has influenced contemporary cinema by inspiring filmmakers to experiment with visuals and aesthetics to enhance the emotional impact of their stories. This focus on visual storytelling as a means of conveying emotions and creating a particular mood has become an integral part of modern filmmaking.

During that time, poetic realism also influenced the French New Wave movement, inspiring filmmakers to experiment with personal expression and non-linear storytelling. Additionally, it left its mark on Italian Neorealism, as its emphasis on capturing the human condition resonated with post-war Italian filmmakers.

Poetic realism is so ingrained in contemporary filmmaking that its importance and impact can be understood without delving into its historical roots. Many films today explore the struggles and joys of ordinary people through atmospheric cinematography, showcasing the continued influence of poetic realism.

However, I would recommend watching two beautiful movies, ‘L’Atalante’ (1934) directed by Jean Vigo, and ‘Grand Illusion’ (1937) directed by Jean Renoir, to witness the origin of a movement that has greatly impacted today’s filmmaking.

Source: Movie posters by imdb.com

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