italian neo realism

The concept of casting actors with lived experience similar to a character is nothing new. It’s been implemented throughout film history.


The go to example is the Italian neo-realism movement following WWII. Italy was impoverished and the people were going hungry. After all the propaganda of the war, directors wanted truth. They filmed in real locations. If the character was a labourer with a family, they would cast a labourer with a family to play him. They wanted to be as honest about things as possible. Notable films from this movement are Bicycle Thieves and Umberto D.


Tl;dr: casting someone from a group to play a character of that group was used to battle propaganda and built whole sections of film history.

Watched Hands Over the City with a friend who’s really into urban planning. It was funny because right after we talked about machine politics a character in the movie made a comment about how the city was like a machine… It’s an interesting movie about some extremely corrupt politicking in urban planning in Naples, Italy. It made me want to organize a urbanism movie marathon; PlaytimeTrafficHands Over the City, and Metropolis would be a good lineup.