From the historical cinema of democratic humanism to the film <i>Novelle</i>: Lukácsian cinematic realism in <i>Danton</i> (1990) and <i>Senso</i> (1954)

Ian Aitken

in Realist Film Theory and Cinema

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780719070006
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700884 | DOI:
From the historical cinema of democratic humanism to the film Novelle: Lukácsian cinematic realism in Danton (1990) and Senso (1954)

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This chapter applies Lukácsian models of literary and cinematic realism to an analysis of Wajda's Danton and Visconti's Senso, arguing that, whilst Danton is at variance with Lukács's models of ‘classical’ and ‘democratic-humanist’ realism, Senso can be considered a work of ‘inverse democratic humanist realism’, rather than ‘classical realism’. Senso can also be regarded as closer to the Lukácsian model than Danton in the sense that, in Senso, ‘the great social-historical antagonisms’ are embodied within the guise of relatively commonplace figures, as opposed to the ‘world-historical’ figures of Danton. The Lukácsian cinema is categorized in two types: films that employ the focused naturalist orientation of the Novelle, and films that employ the more ‘mediated’ framework of the novel. Thus, the chapter concludes by arguing that Lukács's theory of filmic realism can be associated philosophically with a naturalist, phenomenological model of cinematic realism.

Keywords: Lukácsian models; cinematic realism; Wajda's Danton; Visconti's Senso; democratic-humanist realism; social-historical antagonisms

Chapter.  17745 words. 

Subjects: Film

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