Charles Burnett who wrote”Killer of Sheep”. There you go and this is kind of an amazing really good example of taking neo-realism and bringing into the African-American storytelling. This is in many ways– people who now look at it say this is truly a perfect example of transmitting from one culture to another a style of film and you can see very similar not just – and this is in the scripts, by the way not just the visuals– Always written down but the idea of having children deal with the rubble. The trash The leftovers of society, not a beautiful lovely playground as we’ve seen walking through town here. So completely mimicking what we see in “Rome Open City” and also there’s this idea that there’s got to be some beauty in that. One of the things that is considered brought into black Cinema is that you still have to say that there’s struggle but you have to have hope. Otherwise, what’s the point of just showing the struggle. So I think it’s really beautiful. There are moments where the couple is dancing in their home. It’s a very barely furnished home but you can still see that there’s love involved. So that’s an element that black filmmaking brings into this neo-realistic feeling.
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At the recent Screenwriting Research Network conference in Vienna, I gave this talk titled “From Jeanne to Suso to Julie to Spike: How Jeanne Macpherson’s Manual on Screenwriting Influenced Italian Realism which Influenced Black Independent Film in the U.S.”
In the talk, I trace the ways a manual about screenwriting by silent film writer Jeanne Macpherson influenced Suso Cecchi d’Amici who began to utilize Macpherson’s ideas and became the queen of Italian neorealism screenwriting in Europe. Then those Italian neo-realist screenwriters in turn inspired the Los Angeles School of Black Independent Film Makers (the L.A. School). In turn, such as Charles Burnett, Billy Woodberry, Haile Gerima, and Julie Dash and their ideas fueled Spike Lee. Finally, when he became the first Black man to head the jury at the Cannes Film Festival (where Suso had once served) his choice of films influenced yet another generation of screenwriters.
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