Film Discussion Group (FDG)

1st & 3rd Saturdays 10am – 2pm


Tutor: Robin McGeehan

The FDG will now have an increased focus on the educational aspect of discussion around a selection of various films. Hopefully it will reflect the historical evolution of that medium. And will demonstrate the effect that film in general, has had both socially and culturally on society, per decade, over the last 100+ years 

The FDG usually meets every 1st 3rd and 5th Saturday at WOODEND and enjoys viewing and discussion around a selected film, with morning tea included. There is a 4-hour time frame each session (10.00-2.00). The reason for the long-time frame is to accommodate any movie/s exceeding 90min, which is the usual, approximate, running time of a movie.

A typical program will be as outlined below

10-15min talk on History/Evolution of film by Rob

10min introduction to selected film by the scheduled presenter                                                         

90min (flexible) film

10min critique/discussion on the film

Prior to each meeting some aspect associated with the production/editing/showing etc. of a film will be posted to this website under the heading “Tid Bits”


NEO-REALISM   (reality theatre?)


Essentially this is/was a “movement” that originated in Italy with Italian filmmakers in the immediate post-war period. They created their own cinematic language to capture the hardships of everyday life in a shattered nation. But though revolutionary in impact, the new realism was not a complete break with the past. Its roots went deep, to the work of directors in Italy and beyond. It achieved its “realism” by using minimal mise-en-scene and actors drawn from life.

Neorealism became famous globally in 1946 with Roberto Rossellini’s Rome, Open City, when it won the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival as the first major film produced in Italy after the war.

Perhaps Umberto D.( 1952) may well be the film with which neorealist theorist and screenwriter Cesare Zavattini came closest to fulfilling his ambition of making a film about a character to whom nothing happens.- While earlier De Sica-Zavattini pictures such as Shoeshine (1946) and Bicycle Thieves (1948) had focused on child characters, the protagonist of Umberto D. is an elderly former civil servant living on a meagre pension in a Roman boarding house with only his dog for company.

Umberto is played by Carlo Battisti, (not an actor), who was in real life a linguistics professor from the University of Florence. “We are dealing here with a cinematographic report”, wrote André Bazinwrote shortly after the film’s release,… “ a disconcerting and irrefutable observation on the human condition, I have no hesitation in stating that the cinema has rarely gone such a long way towards making us aware of what it is to be a man “.

Fellini who assisted Rossellini to write the script for Rome Open city, in a revealing interview from 1961, reinforces the importance of aesthetics, arguing that: “Neorealism is not about what you show, but how you show it. It’s simply a way of looking at the world without preconceptions or prejudices. Some people are still convinced that neorealism should only be used to show a particular type of reality – social reality to be exact. But then it becomes propaganda.”