Charles Burnett is then gonna write but not direct “Bless Their Little Hearts” and again – so his style I think is one of the most examples of that. Likewise, instead of the bombed-out cities due to war, he’s showing us the destructed cities where all the factories have died and the jobs have gone and now there’s nothing. So in a strange way again it’s a different kind of War that’s being imagined in his films. He also like “The Bicycle Thief” – his main character comes up with an idea about selling fish and making money out of the trunk of his car which is already a fail when you think of it but he’s trying so hard and he does fail because nobody wants to buy fish that hasn’t been on ice. So it’s exactly the same ending we get in “The Bicycle Thief”, that it’s this futility but yet he’s going to wake up tomorrow and try something else which I think is really cool.
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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.